WASHINGTON — Federal grants of up to $5.5 million to train school nutrition professionals were announced March 2 by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The announcement of Team Nutrition Training Grants for Healthy Meals marked the beginning of National Nutrition Month. The grants will include about $2.5 million in non-competitive grants to state agencies that commit to steps that will raise participation in the HealthierUS School Challenge. The department described Team Nutrition as a “key component in U.S.D.A.’s efforts to improve the nutrition, health and well being of children.” The funding will provide “training and technical assistance to school nutrition professionals to help them prepare and serve nutrition and appealing meals.” The effort is part of the Let’s Move initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama, which aims to end childhood obesity within a generation. Participating schools in the challenge voluntarily adopt U.S.D.A. standards for food they serve at schools, offer nutrition education and create opportunities for physical activity. The department said it uses National Nutrition Month to “encourage people to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat milk in their meals each day.”
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