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Lunch Lady Challenges Schools, Families to Make Kids' Nutrition a Priority

BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, Chef Ann Cooper, the renegade lunch lady, is challenging schools and families to transform school lunches across the country into healthful, appetizing meals that teach students about good food and nutrition.

Chef Ann's Web site,, features resources to help parents and schools meet the challenge. It includes family-friendly recipes and recipes that can be modified to serve thousands of students; a kid-friendly food guide that helps children, their parents and school administrators identify the foods that best meet school-age children's nutritional needs; and information to help schools develop and/or implement wellness policies that emphasize health and nutrition. Those participating in the challenge are invited to share their experiences on Chef Ann's blog on her site and learn from people across the country.

"Teaching kids to make healthy food choices is our responsibility," said Chef Ann. "Right now, parents and students rely on schools to provide healthy food choices, but the National School Lunch Program often makes it difficult for schools to provide this food. We need to challenge ourselves and our schools to make real changes to the way we feed our kids and to help students learn more about health and nutrition."

Chef Ann is calling on schools and families to take a close look at what children are eating during the one week dedicated to raising awareness about school food service and nutrition programs. She hopes that parents will eat lunch at their children's school to see and taste what students are being served. Further, she is urging schools and families to see National School Lunch Week as a time to feed kids based on guidelines and strategies that put children's nutritional needs first, rather than the needs of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs driven by the commodity marketplace.

Chef Ann is the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), improving meals at 16 public schools with a population of more than 9,000 students. She is the author of several books, including Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children, which was released in paperback in September 2007.

For more information about Chef Ann and to learn more about the National School Food Challenge visit

SOURCE Chef Ann Cooper
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