Every school day in nearly 84,000 schools, breakfast is served to more than 11 million children, and fruit is an increasingly important part of the menu. The new federal 'Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010' increases the amount of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat and fat-free dairy products in school meals. Considering that many children get 30% to 50% of their calories from school meals, the recommendations can help America's kids develop good eating habits.
Frozen blueberries—ready to go in smoothies, whole-grain muffins, yogurt parfaits and other popular breakfast items—are available to schools through the USDA. This year, in support of healthful breakfasts for school children, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a sponsor of the 22nd annual National School Breakfast Week (NSBW), March 7-11, 2011. The program was first launched by the School Nutrition Association in 1989 to promote awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children.
"Blueberry growers and packers all over the country are very proud that the USHBC is one of three co-sponsors of National School Breakfast Week. We see our sponsorship as a great opportunity to contribute to raising awareness about the importance of starting the day with a nutritious breakfast," says Mark Villata, Executive Director of the USHBC.
"In various ways, the USHBC promotes the use of blueberries on school menus throughout the year," Villata continues. "With an ever increasing push by school foodservice professionals to include a variety of fruits and vegetables on school menus, blueberries as a fruit that delivers both flavor and nutrition, will continue to play an important part."
Sponsorship of NSBW is part of a larger USHBC school outreach. In January, the USHBC sponsored a "Blues Breakfast" at the Child Nutrition Industry Conference attended by 350 major-district and state- and federal-level school nutrition professionals in Seattle. Last fall, the USHBC donated blueberry bushes that were planted in school gardens. Free printed materials, including a set of school-friendly recipes and a blueberry handling guide, as well as activity sheets to send home with children, are available to school foodservice professionals. The USHBC is also a frequent advertiser in School Nutrition, the association's magazine.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council consists of growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States. The members of the USHBC work together to promote the growth and well being of the entire industry. For more information about the USHBC, please go to www.blueberrycouncil.org.
Learn more about the School Nutrition Association and National School Breakfast Week at http://www.schoolnutrition.org/nsbw.