Community summer meal programs are open to all families without paperwork, income verification, and regardless of immigration status. To receive a meal, kids or parents can drop in during a site’s designated meal times. Many programs also offer fun activities so kids can stay active and keep learning.
Meals are being served in a variety of ways with health as the priority. To find out more information about your meals, please visit the Summer Meals Map or check with your local school district about meals in your area.
Participating in the summer meals program is a great way to help your child build nutritious routines and eat healthy food. Check out these resources for more information on how you can participate:
With warm weather and re-opened trails beckoning to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, packing up nutritious snacks and meals to take along is important. Cheese is the perfect high-protein food to throw in your backpack. With the array of hike-friendly cheeses available, even the most discerning hiker will have options to choose from.
What kind of cheese should I bring on my hike?
The next time you pack your backpack for a hike, avoid taking soft cheeses (brie, goat cheese or cream cheeses) and go for hard and dry cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Avoid shredding your cheese or cutting it into chunks before hiking as it speeds up the aging process and provides more chance of getting contaminated by bacteria.
How should I store my cheese?
Store your cheese in parchment paper while traveling, the porous surface allows cheese to breathe and helps in retaining it’s flavor. Replace your wrap frequently to reduce “sweating” (the process of butterfat separating from the cheese). And don’t forget to store cheese away from hot locations in your backpack and direct sun exposure.
Here’s a list of some popular dry and hard cheeses you can take with you in your backpack:
How do I keep cheese fresh?
A good habit to get into at home and on the trail, is to write down the date you initially stored your cheese on it’s storage container. This helps you to measure when your cheese may be past it’s prime. And if you’re backpacking for several days – keep your cheese in one block. Cutting it into pieces increases the surface area that can get contaminated by mold and bacteria.
How can you tell if your cheese is past it’s prime?
Always adhere to the 2 Hour Rule for leaving perishables out: After being in room temperature for 2 hours, always re-refrigerate hard cheeses and throw out soft cheeses.
Welcome to the first-ever, virtual culinary experience with Chef Jessica! Sponsored byODEand ODNC, school and child nutrition professionals across Oregon are invited to watch or cook along with Jessica as she prepares easy, tasty and fun recipes that meet Child Nutrition Program guidelines.
Participants receive tips for shaking up old recipes with new flavors and ideas to keep kids coming back for more.
While supplies last, all participants who complete the evaluation survey will receive an “Undeniably Dairy” apron, as worn by Chef Jessica (with three front pockets) and a handy portable milk cooler for your organization.
Statewide culinary trainings and this event are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Services. Questions? Please contact Crista Hawkins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardensand eat a healthy diet.
You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.
The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.
Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.
Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!
Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.
“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”
National School Breakfast Week is a weeklong celebration of the School Breakfast Program, which provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. Milk is an important part of those balanced, nutritious breakfasts in schools, providing a rich source of protein, calcium, and other minerals to start the day. Former NFL player and Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson Anthony Newman knows the importance of eating a healthy breakfast:
“Your school day is like a big football game; it takes energy,” said Newman, “you need to start the day with fuel for your body for your big game each morning.”
Even with most students attending classes from home this year, eating breakfast is an important part of the day and a great way to fuel learning and participation.
Children who participate in school breakfast programs show decreased anxiety, less depression and less hyperactivity. A recent study showed that the breakfasts offered by these programs can improve a child’s overall nutrition by providing her/him with necessary vitamins and minerals and can reduce the risk of obesity. There is an especially big need for these programs in Oregon, since 1 in 4 children come from low-income, food insecure homes and are at risk of hunger.
Due to Covid-19, most schools are choosing to offer students grab and go meals at locations throughout Oregon. To find out more, check with your local school or school nutrition program, or visit the Oregon Department of Education’s School Meal Resource Page.
In light of distance learning, spring field trips have been cancelled, and all education has moved online. But, you can still visit a farm—virtually of course. Check out these links to see Oregon dairy producers (and friends) doing what they do best- making delicious dairy products for your fridge.
In this video, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Jaime connects us with Darleen from Abiqua Acres: Mann’s Guernsey Dairy in Marion County shows you their beautiful Guernsey dairy cows who are milked by robots! The camera even gets a kiss from the cow named Darleen.
Also in Marion County is Oregon 1st Alternate Dairy Princess Ambassador, Taysha, who will give you a tour of her family’s dairy. Explore cattle feed, maternity pens and feeding calves with a special appearance from the cutest barn cat.
Next, travel to Harrold’s Dairy in Lane County to visit with Bobbi, a fourth generation dairy farmer who is introducing her dairy to 8th grade students at Coburg Community Charter School through AgLink’s Adopt a Farmer Program.
You can find more educational videos for your virtual classroom on the Oregon Dairy Women’s Facebook page, where Oregon’s Dairy Princess Ambassador, Jaime, and First Alternate Dairy Princess Ambassador, Taysha, will teach you about all dairy cow breeds and cow nutrition, milk from farm to table, MyPlate nutrition, and so much more in this four part series.
Searching for free school meals in your area? Run out of recipe ideas? Looking for ways to exercise at home? Anthony Newman has got your back.
Anthony Newman, former NFL player and Oregon Duck, tackles health issues for kids and teens in our short video series, “Staying Healthy with Anthony Newman.”
Where to Find Free School Meals
Anthony Newman shares information on where to find free school meals in your area. Free school meals are available to ALL kids and teens age 1-18. Not just those in school. No ID or registration is needed at pick up. And they’re delicious and healthy!
Self-care is an important part of staying on track while staying at home. Anthony shares information on the importance of sleeping, eating well, and how kids can establish a healthy routine during this time.
Feeling lonely or disconnected? Anthony provides tips on how to cultivate a positive attitude while staying safe and socially distancing.
Food Hero Smoothie Recipe
Who likes smoothies? You will after watching this video! Anthony shows you how easy it is to eat healthy at home with a recipe from Food Hero, a website chock-full of easy and nutritious recipes kids can make at home.