Sodexo used its nutrition expertise to help 111 schools in eight different states over the last school year earn awards in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HealthierUS School Challenge, a program designed to promote good nutrition and physical activity and the hallmark program for schools outlined in First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to end childhood obesity.
Sodexo, a partner to more than 480 school districts across the country, works with schools to give students healthy options and teach them about the importance of making smart nutrition choices – a continuation of the company's long-term student well-being commitment.
"Good food and physical activity give students a better chance of achieving at school and a life full of healthy habits," said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education – Schools in a prepared statement. "In support of First Lady Michele Obama's Let's Move initiative, Sodexo identified the HealthierUS School Challenge as one of the many things we can do to help combat childhood obesity and create a healthier future for all."
Sodexo helps client partners earn awards by both creating healthy school menus that meet program guidelines and providing additional educational resources. Sodexo also works with teachers and parents to reinforce nutrition lessons in the classroom and at home.
"Sodexo is the largest private employer of registered dietitians in America, so we understand how good nutrition and physical activity helps students succeed both in and out of school," said Roxanne Moore, MS, RD, national director of wellness, Sodexo Education - Schools. "When you combine our nutritional expertise with the healthy and delicious recipes our chefs develop specifically for schools, you get a complete school meal program dedicated to getting students excited about good nutrition."
On Oct. 17, Sodexo managers accompanied administrators and staff from partner school districts for a special recognition event on the South Lawn at the White House. The event, which was hosted by the First Lady, honored all schools that have earned prestigious HealthierUS School Challenge awards.
In addition to its work with the HealthierUS School Challenge, Sodexo is helping make all U.S. school children healthier by working with its food manufacturing partners to improve school meals. Sodexo chefs regularly meet with national manufacturers to reduce sugar, fat and sodium in school food, which benefits all students eating school meals, not just those at Sodexo-served schools.
Sodexo also convened a research and development summit in the spring of 2010 at the Culinary Institute of America in California's Napa Valley to talk about and test new flavor profiles that are healthier and would be enjoyed by kids. Schools chefs from across the country collaborated with chefs and representatives from 25 different food manufacturing companies, working together to create more than 90 healthy new recipes for Sodexo menus in the 2011-2012 school year.
Sodexo is committed to take measurable sustainable actions that ensure a brighter future in the areas of health and wellness, environmental stewardship and community development. Sodexo focuses on nutrition, achievement, environment, community and activity to promote student well-being and create enriched learning environments.
Sodexo helped the following districts and schools earn HealthierUS School Challenge awards: