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:
Dairy cows as Olympians? You’ve probably never thought of dairy cows as athletes, but there are many similarities.
Dairy cows eat like champions every day. Their bodies work hard to provide nutritious, high-quality milk. Like Olympians who train hard every day, cows they need to fuel themselves with healthy food choices.
Their personal chefs (aka Oregon dairy farmers) provide nutritious and delicious meals for them by working with animal nutritionists to create balanced meals that contain the right amount of protein, energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals for the cow to maintain optimum health.
A balanced meal for cows contains:
Corn Silage: the entire corn plant that is chopped and fermented
Haylage: grass that is chopped and fermented
Hay: a dried grass or legume, often cut and baled
Cotton Seed: a by-product of cotton production that is left after the soft cotton is harvested for clothing
Distillers Grain: a by-product that is a dried mash produced after the sugar and starch are used in ethanol and fermented beverage production
Soybean Meal: a by-product of soybean oil production, sometimes pelleted for animal feed use
Some of these foods would have been sent to the landfill if cows didn’t eat them.
In fact, 75% of a dairy cow’s diet contains items humans can’t eat.
Cows bodies expend a lot of calories creating milk, so they don’t need to go out for a run or long walk like we do. Cows do need rest though, so they lie down about 12-14 hours a day!
Farmers use a version of Fitbit to track how active cows are to ensure they stay healthy and fit. It usually goes on the cow’s ear (as in the photo above) or around their neck or ankle. Dairy farmers can also use a type of technology to measure the cows’ food intake. If the cow isn’t eating the proper nutrients, the farmer is flagged to take the cow’s temperature and do an overall checkup.
Just like elite athletes, cows only receive treatment for specific illnesses.
Specifically, antibiotics are only used if a cow has a diagnosed infection and other treatments have not worked. The milk produced while the cow is receiving antibiotics is discarded. And just like athletes, a cow’s milk is tested for presence of drugs and other substances that should not be present! The milk is prevented from going into the milk supply and cannot be bottled for consumption.
Holstein (left) andJersey (right) cows are the most common dairy cows in Oregon and produce a lot of milk. And they do this without being treated with hormones. Oregon dairy farmers care for their animals every day of the year. They are so good at taking care of their mooing athletes that the cows naturally produce our favorite 13 essential nutrients in a powerhouse drink: MILK!
Cow’s milk is safe and nutritious no matter what fat content level you prefer to enjoy as an athlete or to serve your family.
So, the next time you go to the grocery store, visit the dairy cooler! And remember the elite athletic team across the state of Oregon that provide nutritious dairy foods for you naturally each day!
Sustainable Communities Dairy contributes to strong, thriving communities and is accessible to all.
Dairy farmers are proud members of America’s essential workforce.
The dairy community is working hard to ensure every child has access to nutrient-rich foods, including dairy foods, to help them grow, learn and thrive. Read about school breakfast and child nutrition programs in Oregon.
Each year, farmers and dairy companies work with local food banks to deliver nutritious dairy foods to those in need, providing 469 million pounds of dairy- including milk, cheese and yogurt – to Feeding America in 2020 alone. Find out more about how farmers fight Hunger.
Looking for more information on how dairy nourishes people while responsibly caring for our planet and animals?Join the Dairy Nourishes Network.
Members of the network receive the latest dairy research, resources and recipes, as well as opportunities for free continuing education.
The 2020 – 2025 DGA provide suggestions for healthy eating patterns throughout all stages of life, including specific recommendations for women during pregnancy and lactation, and for infants from birth to 23 months.
The dietary guidelines have four main points:
1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
2. Customize and enjoy nutrient dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits.
4. Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
The USDA MyPlate and MyPlate website guide all Americans to discover a healthy eating routine that is just right for their individual needs. MyPlate highlights five food groups (dairy, fruit, vegetables, protein, and grains) and suggests ways you can add more foods packed with vitamins and minerals, called “nutrient-dense foods,” to your diet. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Nutrient-dense dairy foods are low fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
One healthy tip to help you meet your food group needs is to include two to three food groups with each meal and, watch your portion size to stay within calorie limits. To learn more about portion size and how much you need from each food group, go to MyPlate.gov.
Healthy eating should be enjoyable! Picking foods that sound good to you will also help make changes easier to stick with long term. Try to swap healthier foods into your diet, like low fat yogurt and fruit instead of a donut or Danish, or simply choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
It is recognized in the DGAs that milk, cheese and yogurt are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, iodine, and vitamin B12. These nutrients provided by dairy products are important throughout your entire life.
Starting at 6 months old, dairy foods like cheese and yogurt are important first foods that help form the foundation for healthy eating.
At 12 months, toddlers can drink whole milk instead of breastmilk or formula as a t critically important source of 13 essential nutrients important for healthy growth and development.
From pre-school to teenage years, dairy foods provide high-quality nutrients that help kids grow, thrive and stay healthy.
Adolescence is a critical time for good nutrition. Teen girls especially fall short of Vit. B12 and bone-building nutrients. Dairy foods have more bone building nutrients per calorie than any other food group.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, dairy foods provide vitamin B12 as well as iodine which are important to brain health.
Older adults benefit from protein and minerals in dairy to support bone health and maintain muscle.
Healthy eating is important throughout all stages of life for growth, prevention of disease, and overall wellness. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate are helpful guides to help you make every bite and sip count.
Makenna Stafford, is currently a Master’s student in the Dietetic Nutrition Program at Oregon State University. She recently worked as a Dietetic Intern for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council in 2021.
In Oregon, there are more than half a million people who do not get enough to eat, and more than 194,000 of them are children. An estimated 1 in 6 kids nationally lived with food insecurity heading into the pandemic, and now it is expected to be closer to 1 in 4 as more households are struggling with declining income or unemployment.
In partnership with GENYOUth, a national nonprofit that creates healthier school communities, Safeway and Albertsons and other contributors are funding grants to supply much-needed resources for meal distribution and delivery. Nationally, more than $10 million has been deployed in emergency funding supporting more than 8,600 schools.
From soft-sided coolers, bags and containers for individual servings, to protective gear for food service sanitation and safety, this equipment will ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious meals they need.
“Our meal program has provided nearly 200,000 meals free of charge to the children in our community over the last 6 months,” said Alex Singer, Nutrition Services Director for Central School District in Independence/Monmouth. “The support from Safeway and Albertsons has shown how communities can rise up and come together to support the needs of children.”
Through donations at the cash register, the Nourishing Neighbors program raises awareness, engages volunteers and raises funds to support innovative and effective programs throughout the country. The program ensures every child in America has access to nutritious food. It is part of the Albertsons Companies Foundation, which has invested over $1 billion in communities nationwide since 2001.
“I truly hope our customers know that when they say yes at the PIN pad, they are helping children in their very neighborhood receive immediate and much needed hunger relief,” said Gineal Davidson, President, Portland Division of Safeway Albertsons.
Do you have a picky eater at home? It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy, but studies have shown that if you involve your child in the meal prep, they are more likely to eat what they prepare. Plus it gives them something productive and fun to do during times while they are homebound.
In this video, Juliauna (age 5) makes Zucchini Pizza Boats with just a little help from her mom. And, at minute 2:31 you can see how much she loved what she made.
FoodHero.org is a fantastic website where you will find kid-approved, budget-friendly and healthy recipes. Plus you will also find meal ideas and shopping tips. Funded by Oregon SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education), they help Oregonians improve their health by increasing their consumption of nutritious foods.
Their website makes it easy to search for recipes that incorporate foods you already have in your home with a section where you can search recipes by ingredients. While supervision by a parent or caretaker is necessary for cutting and cooking, many of the recipes are easy for kids to make with very little help or direction. They also have coloring pages to help your children learn about the ingredients they are using.
Chef Jessica Visinsky, RDN, is training a growing number of child nutrition program professionals to prepare delicious and nutritious food for Oregon students.
Sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Child Nutrition Programs, a new series of the popular culinary trainings are helping improve school cafeteria and child care menus.
Jessica Visinsky, Registered Dietitian and trained chef, who works on the ODE Child Nutrition Programs team, is leading the 2019 workshops in Lincoln City, North Marion and Umatilla to teach child nutrition professionals about 15 new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating.
In preparation for these workshops, Jessica visited the ODNC office to test recipes including National Dairy Council’s Sunny Chicken and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beef Tamale Pie. While Jessica cooked, we talked more about her thoughts on the program – check out the video below!
It’s a staple of American households and often tops the grocery list, but for many low-income families, having milk in the refrigerator can be a rarity. According to the Great American Milk Drive, people served by food banks receive less than one gallon per person per year on average. In Oregon, that statistic is changing.
Thanks to an influx of milk provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Oregon Food Bank network has been distributing nutritious skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk every week to local families and individuals. So far, this has totaled nearly 160,000 gallons.
While it is great news, this did pose some challenges due to perishability, refrigeration capacity and logistics. In what they described as ‘a flurry of activity,’ Oregon Food Bank staff welcomed the distribution challenge and overcame stumbling blocks in coordination with Oregon’s 20 regional food banks to get the product in and out to communities as quickly as possible.
“This is a highly valuable and needed product across our region, and we’ve gotten really strong support from our partners in adjusting systems and processes that allow us to accept incredibly high volumes of milk,” said Gretchen Miller, Sourcing and Operations Strategist for Oregon Food Bank. “It’s more than we ever have in the past. What we’re happiest about is that we’re able to get fresh, high quality milk into the food insecure communities we serve.”
This milk provides a temporary supply to meet ongoing demand, and there are still long term needs to be addressed when it comes to fighting hunger in Oregon. You can help make a difference by contributing to the Oregon Food Bankand/or the Great American Milk Drive.
by Josie Oleson
Graduate Student in Clinical Nutrition
Oregon Health & Science University
As a student of nutrition, I know a lot about what people eat. It wasn’t until I visited a dairy farm that I learned what cows eat and how well they eat while producing the milk and dairy products we love. During my time on the farm, I discovered three ways that cows set a good example for the rest of us during National Nutrition Month and beyond.
#1:Cows have nutritionists
When was the last time you saw a dietitian? Cow nutritionists visit dairy farms regularly and observe the herds, analyze the nutritional quality of their feed, and see how much milk the cows are producing. Using that information, a cow nutritionist can change the components of their feed to make the herd as healthy as possible.
#2:Cows follow tailored diets
Cows get a specific mix of grasses, grains, and byproducts from food processing to support a balanced diet. Cow nutritionists ensure the feed ingredients are in the right amounts for optimal cow health and milk production.
What happens if the cows get off track? Here’s Derrick Josi from Wilsonview Dairy having a talk with his Jersey cows about the importance of following a nutritious diet and not eating empty calories.
#3:Cows eat a lot of fiber
Almond hulls and citrus pulp are some of the byproducts from food production that are added to cow feed. Humans can’t digest these things, yet they are full of fiber and other nutrients. Instead of going to waste, cows can digest them and convert them into nutritious milk.
These are just a few of the ways cows stay at their best thanks to a healthy diet. Dairy farmers and their nutritionists are helping keep their herds healthy, making milk more efficiently, and managing their farms more sustainably.