Kudos to Bogota school system for good nutrition Craig Thomas
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson announced today that schools in Bogota, Englewood, Hamilton, Linden and West Orange are this year’s winners of the Eat Right, Move More contest.
Fisher and Ferguson visited the grand prize winner, Lillian M. Steen School in Bogota, for a special program and to present the school with a check for a $5,000 kitchen makeover, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign. School officials plan to use the money to purchase equipment to wash, cut and prepare fresh produce and blenders to make smoothies.
“School meals have come a long way since the Eat Right, Move More program began in 2006, with students having healthier choices, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and foods baked instead of fried,” said Secretary Fisher. “We congratulate the Lillian M. Steen School and this year’s other winning schools for creatively following our state’s school nutrition standards and developing programs for students, staff and parents that increase their activity levels and teach about good nutrition.”
The Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership between the Jets, the Department of Agriculture and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active. This year, the winning schools were chosen that have made changes in their menus reflecting more fresh fruits and vegetables; a greater variety of vegetables, such as dark green and orange vegetables and legumes; and more whole grains.
Also, school lunch and breakfast menus were reviewed and the schools had to show strong support and demonstrate efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity among their students.
This is the sixth year of the Eat Right, Move More Program, with D’Brickashaw Ferguson as spokesman. The campaign features posters of Ferguson in every school telling students, “Eating healthy meals helps me play my best. Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long. So let’s get up and Eat Right and Move More!”
”I continue to be impressed by the growth of this program and the creativity shown by the schools each year,” said Ferguson. “I’m honored to be a part of Eat Right Move More and to see health and wellness improvement in so many students and schools all over the state.”
In addition to the kitchen makeover grant and visit by Ferguson, a contingent of Steen School students and staff will be honored on the field at the Jets December 11th football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium.
With more than 300 students, the K through 6th grade school places an emphasis on eating healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. They have “fruit and vegetable” days, as well as a fruit of the month and grow herbs in the school garden that are infused into the school’s lunch menu by the district’s chef.
“Good nutrition is important to the faculty and staff of the Lillian M. Steen School,” said principal Anna Rita Falco. “The school offers a breakfast and lunch program where healthy foods are encouraged and promoted. Teachers supervise the cafeteria during lunch and talk to the students about good food and healthy choices.”
Falco said the school’s website includes a cafeteria page with recipes from menus on the monthly calendar, food facts, and links to the breakfast and lunch menu.
She said the school also holds a field day, annual Turkey Trot, Winter and Summer Olympics, physical fitness skill challenge and pedometer challenge.
The other winning schools will receive visits from Jets players in the spring. The schools are: Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood; Mercer High School in Hamilton Township; Linden High School in Linden; and Thomas Edison Central Six School in West Orange.
Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation touch the lives of countless young men and women in the tri-state area. Over the past eleven years, the Jets and their charitable foundation have donated or contributed more than $11 million to promote youth health, fitness and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. From fighting childhood obesity through the Generation Jets: Be Lean & Green initiative to launching a football team in at an urban high school, urging students to eat right and move more, and supporting the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to the Jets Foundation, which supports their own extensive youth initiatives, the Jets partner with numerous established charitable organizations and participate in causes sponsored by the NFL.
The Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive school nutrition policy covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. The policy limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers.
More than 685,000 students in both public and private schools participate in the National School Lunch Program, administered by the Department of Agriculture.