Milford schools win national award for promoting healthy lunches

Eight Milford elementary schools in the district have been selected as recipients of the Healthier U.S. School Challenge (HUSSC), a program offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Challenge is a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.

The award is bestowed on schools across the country for their commitment to nutrition, physical education, and promotion of a healthier school environment for all. The elementary schools in Milford join a select group of schools in America with only 4% of schools nationwide receiving this distinction, school officials said.

Milford’s Foodservice Director Eileen Faustich was pleased with the news and was quick to mention that it was a united effort by students, staff and the foodservice team.

“These recognitions represent the work that everyone did together in making the concept of healthy living ‘real,’” Faustich said. “The physical education teachers incorporated lessons that depicted life-long healthy habits. The classroom teachers encouraged students to try new foods and explained why they are important for a healthy life. The foodservice team incorporated new and colorful foods into our menus that taste great. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

A noteworthy part of the program conducted at the schools included having the students sample new foods through the school’s lunch programs.

Examples included spinach salad with strawberries, whole grain items, and lots of locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

An emphasis on physical activity was also highlighted in physical education classes and through teacher-led recess periods.

As winners of the Bronze Award, each of the elementary schools will receive a banner and a plaque for the school, as well as a $500 award to continue their healthy living programs.

“We are proud to have received this award as it underscores our commitment to children’s health,” said Supt. of Schools Elizabeth Feser. “Children who eat well and are physically active are healthier, which positively affects their sense of well-being and their learning.”