NFSMI Newsletter

teamup-newsletter

Team Up for School Nutrition Success!

teamup-newsletterNFSMI, in conjunction with USDA, hosted 100+ attendees for the Team Up for School Nutrition Success pilot workshop for school nutrition professionals in the USDA Southeast region on November 12-13, 2014, at The Institute.  The workshop provided customized technical assistance by pairing participants with a mentor from a district of comparable size.  The workshop also provided sessions of best practices in key operation areas that included menu planning, plate waste, increasing participation, and financial management.  Prior to attending the workshop, participants utilized a pre-assessment tool to assess their current operation.  Additionally, NFSMI’s Applied Research Division trained the mentors on how to utilize a research-based coaching model that enabled participants to navigate through their specific areas of concern.  Team Up participants worked to develop personalized goals, strategies, and an action plan to take back to their districts.  NFSMI plans to provide a 3, 6, and 12 month follow-up evaluation of those participants who wish to participate. [Read More…]

MyPlate Staff Gets Real With Healthy Eating Solutions for the New Year

Choosemyplate.gov graphic

Visit our website for more tips, tricks, and stories from people like you!

The New Year is in full swing! As the dust settles from the holiday season, many of us Americans are back into our regular routines at work, school, and home. Unfortunately, our regular routines can present some of the biggest challenges in maintaining the New Year’s resolutions that we promised ourselves we would finally keep this year. That’s why in 2017, MyPlate, MyWins messages are centered on finding your Real Solutions to healthy eating. Taking small, realistic steps can ensure that healthy eating becomes a part of your lifestyle rather than a fad that fizzles out after the holiday season.

Our MyPlate team members know that a little encouragement can go a long way. That’s why our staff has created a compilation of our own Real Solutions to share with you. These tips and tricks help each of us maintain healthy eating and physical activity as a priority in our diverse lifestyles, and we hope that they will inspire you as well. Keep your eye out for these tips on MyPlate’s Twitter and Facebook, or visit the Stories from Families & Individuals page on ChooseMyPlate.gov!

Do you have your own New Year’s Real Solutions? We would love to hear them! Share your story on our website or on social media using #MyPlateMyWins. Cheers to a happy and healthful 2017!

MyPlateMyWins testimonials from the team

The MyPlate team knows that the struggle is real… but so are the solutions! These are just a few of our MyWins for the New Year.

SNAP E&T Learning Academy Builds National Leadership for the Program

A woman working

States use SNAP E&T programs to prepare individuals for in-demand jobs, help employers find qualified workers and strengthen the state’s economy.

As the labor market continues to strengthen, so too are SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs across the country. Since 2014, FNS has diligently worked with states to grow their SNAP E&T programs and adopt more effective, employer-driven practices that help SNAP participants find not just any job—but a good job that reduces their need for SNAP.

These efforts have been successful. The program has grown to serve more than 1 million SNAP participants each year and more and more states are seeking best practices and expertise on how to build a quality program that gets people jobs. The demand for this program is growing—and rightly so—the SNAP E&T program is one of the strongest assets we have to ensure that every SNAP participant has the opportunity to gain the skills they need to find a good job.

In October, Under Secretary Concannon announced a new initiative aimed at creating the national expertise we need to take this program to scale. This unique project provides an opportunity for 35 individuals to gain technical expertise on SNAP E&T that prepares them to work within their state or across multiple states building job driven SNAP E&T programs.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the selected participants for the SNAP E&T Academy. This year’s class looks outside of the traditional SNAP stakeholders and brings in new voices to the SNAP E&T community. Participants from community colleges, hunger coalitions, state advocacy organizations, local workforce boards, national nonprofits, providers and state SNAP agencies will join their fellow participants to work on individual SNAP E&T projects. These efforts are designed to develop effective and high-quality SNAP E&T programs in their state or across multiple states. All final participants were selected based on a competitive application process.

We look forward to learning and working with SNAP E&T Academy participants in 2017 as they forge new ground across the country!

Visit the SNAP to Skills site to read more about the 2017 SNAP E&T Academy participants.

Lunchtime: Small Changes – Healthy Rewards

MyPlate New Year's Challenge Week 3 graphic

Welcome to Week 3 of the #MyPlateChallenge!

Welcome to Week 3 of our 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Last week we focused on the Fruits Food Group and healthy solutions for breakfast. There are still three weeks remaining in the Challenge and it isn’t too late to join – sign up today and invite others to participate with you. This week, we will focus on the Vegetables Food Group and how small changes during lunch can help add more vegetables to your day. The winner of the Week 3 challenge will be announced on Monday, January 23rd, so make sure you check in to see if you secured the top spot!

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Adding vegetables to your meals can help you feel full with fewer calories. Also, higher intakes of vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. When shopping for frozen or canned vegetables, use the label to look for vegetables without added sauces, gravies, butter, or cream and for “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” or “no salt added” options. Choosing a variety of vegetables throughout your day (and week) will provide you with a range of nutrients. And remember to make time for physical activity!

Lunchtime is a perfect opportunity to include more vegetables in your day and help you earn points in the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge. For example, instead of having a bag of chips with a sandwich, try a side of baby carrots which are just as crunchy but lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Another tip is to add extra vegetables next time you make a soup or stew for dinner, and save a portion for lunch the next day. Packing your lunch is not only a timesaver on busy days; it’s also a cost saver over purchasing lunch on the go.

Check out our video for more ideas to Make Small Changes at Lunch:

MyPlate has several resources to help you make small changes that add up to long-term solutions for healthy eating, such as USDA’s recipe website, What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, and our new Make Small Changes webpage that provides healthy eating solutions for every meal. Check out our tips for adding vegetables to your days well as those for eating at an Italian restaurant, in the dining hall, or at a potluck. And remember to share your own tips and real solutions for healthy eating in 2017 using #MyPlateMyWins.

For more healthy eating tips and resources, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov, follow MyPlate on Facebook and Twitter, join or use SuperTracker, and sign up for email updates.

The Cost of Raising a Child

Families Projected to Spend an Average of $233,610 Raising a Child Born in 2015 infographic

Families Projected to Spend an Average of $233,610 Raising a Child Born in 2015.

USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.

Where does the money go? For a middle-income family, housing accounts for the largest share at 29% of total child-rearing costs. Food is second at 18%, and child care/education (for those with the expense) is third at 16%. Expenses vary depending on the age of the child.

CNPP Housing infographic

As families often need more room to accommodate children, housing is the largest expense.

We did the analysis by household income level, age of the child, and region of residence. Not surprising, the higher a family’s income the more was spent on a child, particularly for child care/education and miscellaneous expenses.

Expenses also increase as a child ages. Overall annual expenses averaged about $300 less for children from birth to 2 years old, and averaged $900 more for teenagers between 15-17 years of age. Teenagers have higher food costs as well as higher transportation costs as these are the years they start to drive so insurance is included or a maybe a second car is purchased for them.

Regional variation was also observed. Families in the urban Northeast spent the most on a child, followed by families in the urban West, urban South, and urban Midwest. Families in rural areas throughout the country spent the least on a child—child-rearing expenses were 24% lower in rural areas than the urban Northeast, primarily due to lower housing and child care/education expenses.

Child-rearing expenses are subject to economies of scale. That is, with each additional child, expenses on each declines. For married-couple families with one child, expenses averaged 27% more per child than expenses in a two-child family. For families with three or more children, per child expenses averaged 24% less on each child than on a child in a two-child family. This is sometimes referred to as the “cheaper by the dozen” effect. Each additional child costs less because children can share a bedroom; a family can buy food in larger, more economical quantities; clothing and toys can be handed down; and older children can often babysit younger ones.

CNPP Food infographic

Food costs have decreased over the years thanks to increased efficiency in American agriculture.

This report is one of many ways that USDA works to support American families through our programs and work. It outlines typical spending by families from across the country, and is used in a number of ways to help support and education American families. Courts and state governments use this data to inform their decisions about child support guidelines and foster care payments. Financial planners use the information to provide advice to their clients, and families can access our Cost of Raising a Child calculator, which we update with every report on our website, to look at spending patterns for families similar to theirs. This Calculator is one of many tools available on MyMoney.gov, a government research and data clearinghouse related to financial education.

This year we released the report at a time when families are thinking about their plans for the New Year. We’ve been focusing on nutrition-related New Year’s resolutions – or what we are referring to as Real Solutions – on our MyPlate website, ChooseMyPlate.gov. This report and the updated calculator can help families as they focus on financial health resolutions. This report will provide families with a greater awareness of the expenses they are likely to face while raising children.

In addition to the report and the calculator, we also have a dedicated section on ChooseMyPlate.gov that provides tips and tools to aid families and individuals in making healthy choices while staying on a budget. For strategies beyond food, our friends at MyMoney.gov offer a wealth of information to help Americans plan for their financial future.

For more information on the Annual Report on Expenditures on Children by Families, also known as the cost of raising a child, go to: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/expenditures-children-families-annual-report.

*Projected inflationary costs are estimated to average 2.2 percent per year. This estimate is calculated by averaging the rate of inflation over the past 20 years.

U.S. Department of the Treasury's MyMoney.gov graphic

Visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s MyMoney.gov for more resources to ensure financial well-being this New Year’s season!

A Farewell Message from Secretary Tom Vilsack to Employees

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack behind a row of American flags

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack steps on stage at Bonelli Regional Park.

I want to take this opportunity on my final day at USDA to express my profound gratitude to the people who work at USDA. Every day, nearly 90,000 people leave their families and the comfort of their home to do the people’s work in the People’s Department. What an amazing job you do each day for the country.

Your work allows America to have the most productive farmers, ranchers, and producers in the world. Your work protects our families from unsafe food and our homes from dangerous forest fires. Your work ensures that struggling families have enough to eat and our school children have more nutritious meals and snacks. Your work protects our soil and water and creates new products in labs and universities that improve our quality of life. Your work reflects the compassion of our country for those in need in other countries. Your work supports the creation of new businesses and guarantees that communities large and small are great places to live, work, and raise families. Your work inspires people all over America to buy local and support agriculture regardless of size or method of production. Your work fights against the destruction of invasive species and diseases while insuring against losses that occur when storms, droughts, and floods occur.

Your work enables all the work just outlined to happen because you are in the background making sure our operations run smoothly, regardless of where in the world they might be. Each of you and those who have come before you are part of an extraordinary group of people who proudly and honorably serve the greatest nation on earth.

I wish each of you all the best. I have been honored to be one of you. I have been honored to serve President Obama and Vice President Biden. I have been honored to serve my country. I will always love the people I worked with at USDA and the people we work for.

Sincerely,

Tom Vilsack