ScratchWorks Announces Policy Priorities on White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health
ScratchWorks applauds the White House for prioritizing food and nutrition through the commitment of a Conference to bring our countries’ stakeholders together to find solutions to “End hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.”
We believe that fresh, healthy, scratch cooked school food is key in looking at solutions to achieve these goals. The following facts support our position:
- Building healthy eating habits in childhood is essential for positive lifelong habits.
- Five billion lunches are served annually through the NSLP, and more than 30 million students participate in the NSLP every year.
- Only 10% of all children eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.
- Two-thirds — or 67% — of calories consumed by children and adolescents in 2018 came from ultra-processed foods.1
- Ultra-processed foods are less filling and raise our blood sugars higher than minimally processed foods. They are generally higher in calories and sugar, lower in protein and fiber, and are associated with obesity.2
- An adequate fiber intake is associated with reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, certain gastrointestinal diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Fiber is not regulated in the NSLP; operating a whole ingredient, scratch cook school food program ensures more fiber in a child’s meal.3
- Scratch cooking in schools empowers operators to modify recipes, to maximize nutrients and remove “ingredients of concern” like high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and artificial preservatives from the meals they serve.
Based on these facts we believe that the Administration should seek to increase healthy eating by 2030 by supporting policies that:
- Prioritize the reduction of ultra-processed food in schools
- Prioritize the increase of the federal reimbursement for school meals to ensure that school food programs have the funding to purchase higher quality, fresh ingredients
- Prioritize “living wages” for all food workers, particularly school food workers so they can attract talent, create value in the workforce and create sustainable career paths
- Prioritize national food and nutrition education in schools to help children make better choices
1Kyle Beswick, “Why Is Fiber Essential for a Healthy Diet? | Cedars-Sinai,” Cedars Sinai, December 18, 2019, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/dietary-fiber.html
2Anne-Marie Stelluti, RD, “Ultra-Processed Foods – Gastrointestinal Society,” GI Society, 2019, https://badgut.org/information-centre/health-nutrition/ultra-processed-foods/
3Lu Wang et al., “Trends in Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods Among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018,” JAMA 326, no. 6 (August 10, 2021): 519, https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.10238