SPARKS - The Nevada Department of Agriculture's Division of Food and Nutrition is encouraging parents and children to celebrate National School Lunch Week Oct. 14-18.

Across Nevada, about 295,000 meals are served daily in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, feeding meals to hungry children so they are better able to learn. The National School Lunch Program has recently undergone major changes, increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables offered to children in addition to requiring more whole grains.

"The changes represent common sense nutrition, and the school districts have done an amazing job implementing these changes," said Catrina Peters, nutrition programs professional in the Food and Nutrition Division.

Close to half of the school districts across the state have fully implemented the new meal pattern, earning them an additional 6 cents per lunch meal served.

"The additional funds add up and help schools purchase healthier foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits," Peters added.

Healthy meals are critical for children to succeed academically, and school meals play an important role in providing nourishment to children who may otherwise miss out.

School food service staff play an important role in meeting this need, and School Lunch Week provides an excellent opportunity to recognize them for their dedication to our state's children.

"School food service staff deal with major time, money and equipment challenges on a daily basis, but are still able to serve nutritious meals to the kids that need them," said Donnell Barton, Food and Nutrition Division administrator.

The programs are funded through the federal USDA. For more information about the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, visit http://nutrition.nv.gov/Programs/NutritionPrograms/.



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Download an image from a Nevada school cafeteria: http://www.dropbox.com/s/wdbc1snoffer1de/Nevada_School_Lunch.jpg.

Watch a video about a Nevada school lunch program: http://youtu.be/g2vYK_cXPYg.



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The Nevada Department of Agriculture promotes sustainable agriculture and natural resources, which work to protect food, fiber, human health and safety and environment through effective service, regulatory action and agricultural literacy. The NDA was established in 1915 by Chapter 561 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. It includes the divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry. For more information, visit agri.nv.gov.



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