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Students to Congress: Eating Healthier Meals at School Makes Sense and Tastes Great!

Cooking Up Change Event Highlighted Importance of Healthy Meal Standards, Reauthorizing Critical Child Nutrition Programs before September Expiration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow – Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry – today attended an event featuring high school students from around the country cooking fresh, healthy meals for U.S. Senators. The recipes for the meals, created by the student chefs, follow both the budgets and USDA guidelines that their schools use to create healthy meals for students each day – including the use of whole grain-rich foods, reduced sodium, and providing a half-cup of fruits and vegetables.

“These student-chefs are redefining what we think of as school meals by using their creativity to make healthy, delicious food on a tight budget,” Ranking Member Stabenow said. “This competition is a great way to engage students about the importance of eating healthy and to see what types of meals they want to eat. Whether it is including a half-cup of fruits and vegetables in a salad, filling a tasty whole grain wrap, or lowering sodium by using different seasonings, these students have shown us it can be done in a delicious way. As we reauthorize the child nutrition programs, Congress should listen to students like this who are eating and enjoying healthier meals in school."

The event highlighted the importance of Congress moving swiftly to reauthorize critical child nutrition programs – like school breakfast and lunch – before the September expiration. In May the Senate Agriculture Committee held its first hearing on child nutrition programs where Stabenow urged Congress to continue moving forward with the nutrition policies implemented in 2010.

The students who participated in Wednesday’s event were finalist in Cooking up Change’s national competition which took place Monday in Washington, D.C.  The winning team was from Westside High School in Houston, Texas.  In order to get to the final round, the students created original recipes using the school meal requirements and competed against other schools within their state. This year’s competition took place in nine states and had more than 250 student chefs compete. The students at Wednesday event were from Chicago, Ill, Detroit, MI, Houston, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Memphis, TN, Orlando, FL, Washington, D.C., and Wichita, KS.