Closing Your Family's Fruit And Vegetable Gap

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With school routines firmly in place, this is a great time to focus on healthy choices at school. In the first year of the local wellness policies mandated by the US Congress, school districts across Montana have made exciting and significant changes in nutrition and physical activity for students and staff.

During October, National School Lunch Week and International Walk to School Month provide perfect opportunities for parents to support the changes in their local district. It is also an excellent time to get involved in ongoing efforts to create the healthiest possible learning environments.

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"Montana continues to be a pioneer in creating healthy school environments," said registered dietitian Katie Bark of the Team Nutrition Program at Montana State University in Bozeman. "In our efforts to provide what's best for kids at school, Team Nutrition, funded by a USDA grant, works closely with administrators, teachers, and Child Nutrition Directors in all Montana districts. We also collaborate with the volunteer leaders of statewide groups like Montana Action for Healthy Kids and Montana PTA, as well as local community groups across the state."

During National School Lunch Week, slated for Oct. 15-19, Montana school cafeterias will celebrate a national trend towards healthier lunches. Parents, grandparents, and other family members are encouraged to join their children for lunch, and taste the positive changes in school meals for themselves. Some of the exciting changes in Montana schools include:

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