Schools promote healthy eating habits through Federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

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 Springfield, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced that 188 schools in Illinois will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2010-11 school year.                                           

“This program not only increases children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables but also teaches them why it’s important to eat healthy foods and exercise,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Incorporating healthy food choices with nutrition education during the school days makes it more likely that students will develop good eating habits.’’ 

The 188 schools participating in the federally-funded FFVP will share equally in more than $3.3 million based on each school’s student enrollment numbers. The program requires the same amount, about $50, be allocated for each student in participating schools. Program funding runs through June 30, 2011.  

FFVP provides all students in participating schools access to a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It allows schools to make available the additional produce anytime during the regular school day, except during breakfast and lunch when the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are in effect.  

The idea is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. For example, schools can incorporate nutrition education into numerous daily classroom activities such as math, health, geography and science, by developing lesson plans involving fruits and vegetables.  

The 2005 United States Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guidelines increased intake of fruits and vegetable consumption to two cups of fruit and 2 ½  cups of vegetables per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. Research shows the average consumption of fruits and vegetables among school children is approximately half that or two cup equivalents per day.  

The USDA first piloted the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in 2002 and it was expanded to include all states for the 2008-2009 school year.  More than 360 schools statewide applied for the 2010-11 grant program. Each school will be reimbursed on a monthly basis for allowable expenses up to the school’s total awarded amount. The fresh produce purchased under this program cannot be used to replace fruits or vegetables already being served to students at breakfast or lunch.

The complete list of 188 schools in the Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Program is below. A map of the selected schools is available online at 

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