Healthy Meals Grant
Healthy Meals Grant brings exciting changes to school meals
Posted on 11/02/2023
Student tasting a sweet potato at lunchBristol Tennessee City Schools, in partnership with Action for Healthy Kids and USDA Food and Nutrition Service, is excited to announce a new $150,000 Healthy Meals Incentives grant dedicated to improving children’s health by funding initiatives to strengthen the quality and nutrition of school meals.

Over next two years, the school district will implement the grant funding with a multifaceted plan to enhance school meals. During fall 2023, the district is partnering with a chef and registered dietitian to assist with recipe development and staff training to implement healthier and more flavorful cooking techniques. The grant is also allowing the purchase of new equipment to provide more consistent and flavorful cooking options for steaming, roasting, and baking.

The district is hosting taste testing activities at each elementary school. In addition, the department of school nutrition is joining family engagement events to provide meals and nutrition education for students and families. The first phase of implementation also includes adding nutrition analysis software for recipe building and menu analysis. The grant will continue through June 2025 with additional training for staff, more school taste testing opportunities and nutrition education opportunities at community events, continued staff training, and the installation of additional equipment.

“Research shows school meals are the healthiest meals in a day for most kids,” said Jennifer Burleson, school nutrition director for Bristol Tennessee City Schools. “As staff learn and gain confidence in preparing more fresh and less processed foods, the health and taste of our school meals will continue to be strengthened. When we strengthen school meal quality, we strengthen child health.”

“These grants are the largest targeted investment USDA has ever made for school meal programs in small and rural communities,” said Stacy Dean, USDA deputy under secretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “We want to ensure every child in America has the opportunity to attend a school with high-quality, nutritious meals, and this support is a step in that direction.”

The Healthy Meals Incentives grant is part of an allocation of nearly $30 million by the USDA FNS to 264 school districts across 44 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more about the Healthy Meals Incentives and view a grantee map at www.healthymealsincentives.org/grantees.
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