A campaign designed to educate students about the importance of nutritious school lunches also highlights the role of wheat and whole grains.
National School Lunch Week is October 11-15. The tribute raises awareness about how healthy food options for elementary and secondary students at lunchtime improve their academic potential and wellbeing.
Wheat is a staple ingredient in school lunchrooms nationwide because of its many nutritional advantages. It contains large amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Research has shown its influence in reducing the risk of diabetes, breast cancer, gallstones, inflammation and several cardiovascular conditions.
Whole grains are becoming more integrated in school menus. Wheat is one of the most widely grown and most preferred whole grains available for consumption in the world. In fact, wheat is America’s most consumed grain and is also the principal ingredient of flour.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) released a study June 30, which included responses from 538 school nutrition directors managing school-district foodservice operations in 44 states, that revealed 95 percent of schools districts are increasing offerings of whole-grain products.
“Ohio wheat will contribute to food products that ultimately arrive on our kids’ cafeteria trays,” said Mark Wachtman, president of the Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA). “Our wheat farmers will plant wheat in the fall following the corn and soybean harvest.”