JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Bower Foundation has announced the funding of a new $900,000 grant in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools.
The funds will be used to help schools provide healthier student meals, in accordance with the Mississippi Healthy Schools Act, by replacing deep fryers with new, high-tech Combination Oven-Steamers.
To date, 84 schools have been awarded combi-oven grants from The Bower Foundation, which provide healthier school meals to more than 65,000 Mississippi students each day.
The announcement will provide funding to an additional 50 schools within the state.
The Bower Foundation’s Nutrition Integrity Grants first began in 2006, when three Mississippi schools were granted funds to test implementation of the new steamer-ovens.
A case study the following year showed a significant reduction in calories, calories from fat and saturated fat served to students, as well as an overwhelmingly positive response to new baked products by both students and staff.
The project clearly demonstrated schools’ commitment to serving healthful, tasty meals that support academic success in the classroom.
“Healthy schools that support good nutrition and physical activity as a part of a total learning environment produce healthy students. Healthy students are more likely to be academically successful,” said Anne Travis, CEO of The Bower Foundation. “The foundation is pleased to partner with schools that are committed to improving health and educational outcomes in our state.”
Replacing school kitchen fryers with combi-ovens is one important strategy for improving the nutrition and health of the more than 375,000 Mississippi children who eat lunch at school each day.
Mississippi schools serve nearly 31 million breakfasts and over 67 million lunches every year.
State-of-the-art kitchen equipment can help ensure that school meals are appealing to children, and are prepared using the most healthful cooking techniques and food products available.