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.
During the month of February, grilled cheese lovers have rejoiced with the return of The Melt Down in Yamhill County. This month-long event features 30 unique, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from 30 different restaurants and food carts. Best of all, $2 from every sandwich supports a regional network of 17 emergency food pantries, known as YCAP.
Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich – Made with house made mac and cheese with tomato soup mixed in
Double Dog Dare Ya – Layers of pepper jack, pickled jalapeños, cranberry, bacon and cream cheese
PB & JK – With smoked pork belly, burrata and fig jam
It’s Chive O’Clock Somewhere – Cotswold and swiss, topped with jalapeño jam, caramelized leek, shallot spread and chive-infused butter… bacon optional!
Sour Cheddar Chow – Scrambled eggs with ham, cheddar cheese, and spinach in a homemade sourdough waffle
Slayer Melt – A melted selection of cheeses, stout braised onions, peppadew peppers, with sweet and tangy smoked beef brisket
If you want to try these delicious variations on the classic grilled cheese- don’t delay! While some of the sandwiches remain available after February 28, most are limited-time creations available solely during The Melt Down this month.
In support of YCAP, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council is among the sponsors of this growing, dairy-positive, annual community event supporting a good cause. It’s a natural partnership since most of the sandwiches use Oregon-made cheeses and butter. In past years, Oregon dairy producers, processors, and Dairy Princess Ambassadors have been featured as part of the event.
This year, Yamhill County Dairy Princess Ambassador Libby, created her own DIY grilled cheese to help support The Melt Down:
Accolades and appreciation for the event keep pouring in. “I can’t even believe how incredibly successful The Melt Down was this year … thank you so much for all of the incredible support you guys provide,” said Diane Longaker, organizer of The Melt Down in 2020.
Loredana Wilkerson posted, “Finally got to eat the #tmd2021 offering at Conservatory Bar tonight… so very glad indeed. “It’s Chive O’Clock Somewhere” is indeed special. Everything about it was well-balanced IMHO. Everything.”
Ted Tracey also had glowing praise for the event, “Went to 3 places on Saturday for #TMD2021! The first was from #GrainStation and it is now at the top of my list for grilled cheeses this year! The cheeses were fantastic and the caramelized onions were a deliciously sweet addition alongside the au jous!”
In February 2020, participating restaurants sold 13,532 grilled cheese sandwiches, more than double from the year before, making it a win-win for local restaurants in the community. Each year, the event generates increased business, and the food pantries receive much-needed financial support to meet ever-growing demand in their communities. You can even add a third win, since the participants in this event get to enjoy gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Bon appetit!