Advocate to strengthen child nutrition programs
It’s been nearly a decade since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed, and now Congress has an opportunity to improve and strengthen child nutrition and school meal programs through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) process.
Every five years, the CNR authorizes ALL federal school meal and child nutrition programs, which provide funding to increase access to healthy food for children across the U.S. In Colorado, these programs include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Although the current law expired in September 2015, the programs have continued to operate. Through this process, we are asking Congress to:
Protect and strengthen evidence-based nutrition standards for school meals and other foods sold in schools by supporting strong evidence-based school food nutrition as required by law. The nutritional quality of school meals has improved over time, and more kids are participating in school food programs that offer healthier meals based on the first ever comprehensive study of school meals. Current statute mandates that the standards are consistent with the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The existing nutrition standards promulgated by USDA for sodium and whole grains are no longer aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This reauthorization must address restoring the nutrition standards back to baseline for sodium and whole grains.
Support and strengthen programs and policies that help ensure schools are successful in providing nutritious school foods. Use reauthorization as an opportunity to show support for adequate time to eat, length of meal time, and recess before lunch so that children meet recommendations to have at least 20 minutes of seat time to eat. Address drinking water safety and accessibility by providing funding for testing and remediation of cafeteria and kitchen tap water for schools and childcare centers and ensuring all schools have at least one bottle filling station and provide cups or bottles for filling.
Protect and increase access to child nutrition programs. Invest in summer nutrition by increasing access to nutritious meals through the Summer Nutrition Programs and expand and make permanent the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program, so that more working families receive a Summer EBT card to purchase food during the summer months. Streamline paperwork between summer feeding and the National School Lunch Program. Strengthen nutrition standards to align with school meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Provide technical assistance and transparency in supporting schools in meeting the standards. Require a report to Congress on technical assistance efforts on sodium, whole grain-rich, and added sugars, including progress by schools to meet the standards.
- Learn more about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process by visiting the Food Research Action Center(FRAC).
Support the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity priorities by clicking here and completing the form by Sept. 27.