Jets tight end Matthew Mulligan and representatives of the Department of Agriculture today recognized a program at Hightstown High School for being one of the winners of the Eat Right, Move More program.
"The Eat Right, Move More program calls attention to the importance of eating nutritious foods and increasing activity whether you are a professional football player or a student," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. "We commend Hightstown High School for making a commitment to serve creative and healthy food in their school cafeteria and encouraging students to exercise more."
Hightstown was one of the winners of the 2010-11 Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership among the Jets, the Department of Agriculture and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign. The prize, a visit and program by a Jets player, was scheduled to take place last spring but was postponed due to the NFL player lockout.
Eat Right, Move More encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active. Last school year, the winning schools were chosen that best met the criteria established for the Healthier U.S. School Challenge Program. Additionally, school lunch and breakfast menus were reviewed and the schools had to show strong support and demonstrate efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity among their students.
The program is now in its sixth year and features Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson as spokesman. Each school in the state receives posters of Ferguson telling students, "Eating healthy meals helps me play my best. Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long. So let's get up and Eat Right and Move More!"
"Staying in shape and having a nutritious diet isn't just important for professional athletes," said Mulligan. "I feel privileged to be here today to congratulate these students and this school for their commitment to health and wellness."
Diane Tomori, East Windsor Regional Schools director of dining services, said they incorporate local produce into their menus and feature a fruit or vegetable of the month. September is tomato month.
"We work with a produce company that lets us know what produce they have available from the local farmers," said Tomori. "All our food is prepared from scratch as much as possible. This allows us to control the amount of oil and salt in our food and to substitute healthier items in place of certain cooking items."
Hightstown's lunch menu has increased whole grain offerings and only oven potatoes. Once a week they offer a salad bar and Tomori said salad bar participation has increased 200 percent since they started it last year. This week on the lunch menu is whole grain cheese ravioli, chicken fajitas and a taco bar.
The school houses grades 9-12 and has 1,453 students.
"The health of students comes from good nutritional intake and exercise in their daily lives," said school principal Alix Arvizu. "Teaching the students this at this stage in their lives teaches them to stay healthy for their future."
Netcong Elementary School was the grand prize winner of last school year's Eat Right, Move More program. The school received a check for a $5,000 kitchen makeover, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, and representatives from the school were honored at a Jets game last December.
The other winning schools — Haledon Public School in Haledon, P.S. #25, Nicolaus Copernicus School in Jersey City; and Oak Street School in Lakewood — will receive visits from Jets players over the next few weeks.
Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation touch the lives of countless young men and women in the tristate area. Over the past nine years, the Jets and their charitable foundation have donated or contributed more than $8 million to promote youth health, fitness and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
From fighting childhood obesity through the Generation Jets: Be Lean & Green initiative to launching a football team in a Harlem high school, urging students to eat right and move more, and supporting the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to the Jets Foundation, which supports their own extensive youth initiatives, the Jets partner with numerous established charitable organizations and participate in causes sponsored by the NFL.
The Department of Agriculture's comprehensive school nutrition policy covers pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students. The policy limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars, vending machines, school stores, and as part of on-campus fundraisers.
More than 685,000 students in both public and private schools participate in the National School Lunch Program administered by the Department of Agriculture.
For more information about the department's school nutrition programs, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school.html.
For information about this school year's Eat Right, Move More contest, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/pdf/eatrightmovemoreappl.pdf.