Eat REAL Blog

California's first partner showing off lunch at Markham Elementary School

Change is on the Menu!

Eat REAL hosted First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom on a school lunch visit with students at Vacaville Unified with Mount Diablo Unified School District and North County Monterey Unified School District.

The Importance of School Meals

The school bell rings, students are heading to class. They should be bright, fresh, and ready to learn, but instead, many are having trouble staying focused and awake. Money’s been tight at home, and the fridge was empty this morning. For the third time this week, the day begins with an empty stomach. Child Hunger

The Eat REAL Model Works for Everyone

We learn many life skills in school over the 12 years spent there that prepare us for adult life. Outside of the standard subjects like Math, Science, History, English, we learn soft skills like social skills, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking. However, our education rarely covers nutrition and fueling our bodies – even though students

Fight Climate Change with Sustainable Food Production

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its sixth assessment report on the state of climate change in 2021. The report is an urgent cry to limit human-caused greenhouse gas emissions as the scientists found that climate change continues to accelerate, and the unequivocal cause is human activities. On the flip

Eat REAL Certification Works to Regenerate our Planet

Climate change is accelerating, and nearly ¼ of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from food production. But, not all food production is created equal. Real food that’s grown locally using climate-friendly practices can not only limit the negative impacts of food production but can help regenerate the environment. Eat REAL Certification is a change

Eat REAL is an Eat the Change Grant Recipient!

We are proud to announce we have been awarded a competitive $15k grant from climate-friendly food champions, Eat the Change Impact. This grant will support our work in helping schools create more climate-friendly menus. Eat the Change Impact is the foundation of climate-friendly food company Eat the Change. The foundation awards grants to support organizations

Eat REAL Bikeraiser Raises Funds to Remove 1M Pounds of Sugar from School Meals

Miguel Villarreal, Eat REAL Board Member and school food visionary, celebrated his retirement after 40 years as a public school Foodservice Director by dedicating a bikeraiser to Eat REAL this weekend. He rode up Mt. Diablo on Sunday, August 1st, with 10 pounds of sugar strapped to his bike – the amount of sugar Eat

Universal Free School Meal Programs Gaining Momentum Across Country

Children need access to nutritious meals so they can learn, thrive, and grow. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for millions of families across the country.  The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated hunger and food insecurity while shining a spotlight on the inequalities in our food system – however, it also exemplified the power school meal programs have

Spring 2021 School Food Service Leader Survey

The 2020-2021 school year was unprecedented. We are beyond impressed and inspired by the ability of schools across the nation to adapt and find creative solutions to problems never faced before. From day 1 of shelter-in-place orders and shutdowns, schools jumped into action serving millions of meals 100% free of cost to any child 18

CA is the first state to provide free school meals for all!

Today, California made history with a huge step towards increasing child nutrition access and ending child hunger. Governor Gavin Newsom signed in the new state budget today including funding for permanent free school meals for all K-12 students.  “Today… California! Tomorrow… the nation. Huge congratulations to the massive community of passionate advocates and leaders who

Farm to Summer Celebration Week

This week, Eat REAL is celebrating the California Department of Education’s Farm to Summer Celebration Week! Farm to Summer is all about sourcing local foods and teaching kids about agriculture and nutrition. Thank you to all the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option operators who facilitate this week of learning and healthful farm-fresh

The Power of School & Summer Meal Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated hunger and food insecurity across the country and shined a spotlight on the inequalities in our food system – it also expanded awareness around the power of our existing child feeding programs. With the help of USDA waivers, schools expanded their services to provide free meals to all students. Many

The Rise In Summer Food Insecurity

Summertime hunger is consistently a problem for the 22 million children who rely on free and reduced-price school meals for most of their nutrition and caloric intake. As schools come to a close this year, the likelihood that hunger will increase is even greater due to the growing food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrating our Schools

As the school year comes to an end, we’ve been reflecting on what has been one of the most unprecedented school years. We have never ceased to be impressed and inspired by the ability of our schools to adapt and find creative solutions to problems never faced before. This year also brought new insight into

Eat REAL Philanthropic Leadership Board

“Better Together” is a deep-rooted value for our organization. We know that the more support and voices we can gather, the faster we can accomplish our mission, and the sooner we can raise awareness that real food can help solve our human and planet health crises.  In 2020, we expanded our community and the movement

Happy Mother’s Day from Eat REAL

For Mother’s Day, Eat REAL would like to thank all the moms, mother figures, and caregivers for all you do – this year more than ever. Moms have risen above and beyond, taking on childcare, becoming homeschool teachers, carrying the weight of increased domestic responsibilities, and keeping their families fed during a global health pandemic.

Real Food Nurtures Our Health and Regenerates Our Planet

Real food is key to building a healthy and vibrant future for our children and their environment. Eat REAL defines real food as whole foods, prepared healthfully and sourced sustainably. We help schools transform their foodservice programs so they optimize nutrition and minimize environmental impact. Real Food For Our HealthWhen we eat real food, we

Eat REAL Awarded $242k Grant from CA Dept of Food and Agriculture

Eat REAL has been awarded a Farm to School Incubator Grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Farm to Fork. Eat REAL is proud to be part of a select group of organizations and school districts to receive this highly competitive grant. The grant will allow Eat REAL to replicate and

Celebrate Earth Day with Eat REAL

April is Earth Month, and this Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day! The theme of Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth™ and will consist of three days of climate action. We love celebrating Earth Day because it underscores the work we do all year to create a more sustainable world and restore our environment. 

Becoming a Real Food Advocate

Real, whole foods grown with environmentally conscious practices are vital for people’s health and our planet. Eat REAL’s work and the real food movement are centered around creating equitable access to real food and supporting regenerative food production for our planet. Good health starts with real food. The real food movement is growing, and we’re

Celebrate World Health Day With Real Food

Every year, the World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day on April 7th. A year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration is focused on ‘building a fairer, healthier world for everyone.’ The pandemic has led to a rise in poverty and food insecurity exacerbating health inequalities worldwide and in the United States.  Good

Eat REAL Supports School Meals for All SB 364

***UPDATE 4/7/2021

The School Meals for All Bill 364 has passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the CA senate education committee! This is a big step towards creating a more healthful and equitable food system for all California children.

Redesigning our Foodsystem

We talk about “redesigning a more equitable food system” a lot. It’s at the heart of Eat REAL’s mission and how we will accomplish our goal of increasing our kids’ health and creating a healthier planet. Our food system isn’t necessarily  “broken,” it works as it was built to. Unfortunately, it was built on a

Free School Meals Lead to More Successful Students

Two new reports suggest that having regular and stable access to healthful food has a massive impact on a student’s performance in school and on tests. The findings underscore the link between food access and children’s ability to succeed long-term into adulthood and access opportunities to advance their economic standings. The first, a study from

National School Breakfast Week

This week is National School Breakfast Week! We are celebrating the schools and programs dedicated to helping students begin their day nourished and ready to learn. National School Breakfast Week is celebrated in March of each year and brings recognition to a program so important to our children’s health. The National School Breakfast program has

Hacking The Aging Clock: Longevity Starts in Childhood

A recap of the fascinating Donor Lightning Session, Hacking The Aging Clock: Longevity Starts in Childhood, that featured a presentation by Eat REAL’s Chief Pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene, in conversation with Stephanie Erazo, CEO and Health Entrepreneur + Eat REAL Philanthropic Leadership Board Member.

March Donor Lightning Session

Hacking the aging clock: Longevity starts in childhood.
The latest on nutrition & aging, top questions on Covid-19, and Eat REAL’s trajectory

Food System Justice Is Racial Justice

When it comes to the U.S. food system, healthful options have become a luxury that millions of Americans don’t have access to or cannot afford. This food insecurity disproportionately affects BIPOC communities due to long-standing structural racism, discriminatory policies, income disparities, and limited economic opportunities. The levels in which our food system needs to be

What Kids Eat May Have Lasting Effect on Gut Health

We know that eating nutritious, real foods is good for our health and that a diet full of ultra-processed foods can lead to many chronic health conditions. A new study from researchers at the University of California, Riverside, indicates that what kids eat during childhood could have lasting effects on their gut microbiome health well

Food Justice and COVID-19

Eat REAL is proud to be featured in Mother Jones’ recent article “How the American Diet Turbocharges COVID-19.” Our chief science officer, Dr. Robert Lustig, spoke with the magazine about how processed food-related diseases exacerbate the COVID-19 virus. “We’ve known that processed food is dangerous, but we’ve always assumed it was for chronic diseases,” says

Our Impact In Action

Eat REAL donates 3,200 meals to Bay Area families in the Canal Community before Holiday Break

Support Real Food Access for Children this Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving, and this year, falls on Tuesday, December 1st. It’s a moment amid the holiday season that showcases the power of people coming together to do good by supporting the causes they are passionate about, either financially or by sharing their message to amplify the mission. By supporting

Building a Healthier Planet for our Children

2020 has been a challenging year for all – As we head toward the holiday season and end of the year, Eat REAL is taking time to reflect on all that we are grateful for, the amazing work we have accomplished, and our exciting plans for 2021. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the passionate

Healing Communities With Real Food

As our country comes together in a time of healing, Eat REAL helps communities by working with schools to increase real food access for children. Our certification program teaches the importance of healthful food and aides schools in transforming their meal programs so that all children can access real, healthful foods.   The healing power of

Made From Scratch: Healing Our Bodies and the Planet

Meals made from scratch with nutritious, real food ingredients are better for our health and the health of our planet. Processed foods are energy-intensive to produce and often contain chemical additives that can harm human health and the environment. They are commonly packaged in plastic that ends up in landfills where it pollutes the planet

Tackling Children’s Hunger with School Meals

Hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity continue to rise in the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences rage on. School breakfast and lunch programs are critical for feeding children during the crisis as they serve more than 141 million meals each week. For millions of children, school meals account for up to

National Farm to School Month

We’re celebrating National Farm to School Month to encourage systemic changes to our food system so that all children have access to real, nutritious foods critical to their overall health and wellness.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District Achieves Eat REAL Certification

Eat REAL is pleased to announce that Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) has completed their two and a half year journey to becoming Eat REAL Certified. Located in Contra Costa County, CA, the District is made up of 52 schools serving over 31,000 students. MDUSD worked hard to overcome numerous challenges through a rigorous

National School Lunch Week

Today begins National School Lunch Week, celebrating our school heroes and the essential programs they manage. Amidst a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, school meal programs are now more important than ever.  The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves nearly 30 million children every school day. With unemployment continuing to rise, these meals have become

Staying Healthy in a Broken Food System.

Our broken food system has led to an obesity epidemic and left millions of Americans with chronic food insecurity. Poor diet and diet-related illnesses are not the results of bad individual choices – inequitable access to healthy food is to blame. Millions of Americans cannot afford fresh produce and high-quality proteins due to economic oppressors

Protect School Food Heroes During COVID-19

School food service professionals have been essential in feeding America’s at-risk youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of children rely on school programs for the majority of their nutritional and caloric intake. Our school food heroes facilitated summer meal programs throughout the pandemic and are now working to deliver these vital meals in remote and

School Meals During Remote Learning

School meal services are more critical than ever as food insecurity grows due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many kids going back-to-school in a remote learning environment, fewer at-risk students are receiving school meals. 96% of the school foodservice providers Eat REAL surveyed believe that food insecurity is increasing, while 81%

USDA Waiver Extensions – What does it mean?

The United States Department of Agriculture has extended waivers to provide free meals to all students 18 and under through December 2020. The welcomed action is in response to growing food insecurity due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 100% of the foodservice providers we surveyed agree that universal school breakfast and lunch

Fight Food Insecurity with Access to Healthy School Meals

Basic nutrition is a human right that all children in America deserve. The recent New York Times Magazine article, “America at Hunger’s Edge,” highlights the broken system – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – that leaves millions of Americans with chronic food insecurity. Access to healthful food has become a privilege that one in eight

The Farmlink Project’s First School Delivery!

Originally Posted on The Farmlink ProjectBy Olivia Groell August 25, 2020 On August 5th, The Farmlink Project and Eat REAL worked together to launch The Farmlink Project’s new initiative of “students helping students.” This is how Nora LaTorre, CEO of the public health nonprofit organization Eat REAL, described the concept of college students facilitating the

Optimize Your Immune System by Eating REAL Optimizing your immune system is the metabolic version of “work smarter, not harder”.  As Dr. Greene talks about in his video above, by feeding and treating your body right you allow your immune system to really focus on keeping you healthy and protecting your body against harmful viruses and other pathogens. He offers 4

Eat REAL Impact Update, August 2020

It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of another month. The world is full of uncertainty and difficulty, but our team is focusing and working harder than ever on Eat REAL’s model to nourish and heal our communities and planets.  COVID-19 Support Program  To date, we’ve connected a network of 2,067 schools/ 85

The Importance of School Meals

For millions of children across the country, school meals contribute up to 50% of their daily caloric intake. The impact these meals have on their development and day to day health is even more significant than previously thought. In 2013, the Obama-Era Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act went into effect. This legislation increased the nutritional

Eat REAL Virtual Volunteer Summer Internship Program

The launch of our Summer Virtual Volunteer Intern Program was an incredible success, furthering our community engagement and shaping our youth outreach program.  Six interns joined us to create educational social media campaigns for their peers, inspired by the Eat REAL standards. Their projects highlighted the importance of eating real whether through incorporating more plant-based

Eat REAL + Bay Area School Foodservice Directors COVID-19 Zoom Meeting

Five Northern California School District Food Service directors and teams met with our team to discuss current challenges, collaborate on solutions, and work together to ensure their students would continue to have access to nutritious meals throughout the upcoming school year.

Eat REAL Summer Intern Program Sneak Peek: Motivational Workshop with Dr. Riva Robinson

Kicking off the final week of our intern program, guest speaker, Dr. Riva Robinson led our intern cohort through an inspiring conversation of self-value by outlining her five truths she wished she’d known as a young adult. We appreciate how she takes a holistic approach to health integrating healthy eating, active lifestyle, mindful moments, connections,

Show us your masks!

Eat REAL’s Dr. Alan Greene walks through masks safety and tips to ensure you are wearing and using your mask properly. We also have an exciting update on our mask distribution program!

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. We stand for equality and justice. Racism and ignorance are never okay. We will listen, learn, stand up, and do the work necessary together to create lasting change.

Moms & COVID-19
Food Insecurity

Moms and mother figures around the country are achieving what can seem impossible during this pandemic. We at Eat REAL, are making sure they know they have other options. You can help by donating today.

Impact Update May 2020

You’ve helped us deliver thousands of masks per week to frontline workers and volunteers in a network of >1,500 schools – thank you!

Thank You School Lunch Heroes!

To all foodservice staff across the nation, THANK YOU. You are keeping families fed. You are ensuring that when schools are able to open again, students will be healthy and ready to learn.

IG LIVE: Top Chefs, Athletes, and Artists are taking over Eat REAL’s Instagram

We are all about inspiring families to boost their immune systems through healthy eating. Now, more than ever is the time to get in the kitchen, try new things, and celebrate the joy of cooking. To help bring that inspiration and fun, we’re excited to announce that over ten incredible chefs, artists, athletes, and companies

Design Thinking During COVID-19

We believe in the power of design thinking. We’ve seen firsthand how powerful it is for COVID-19 relief efforts. Learn how we leveraged design thinking to launch the #RainbowTacoChallenge in partnership with IDEO here: Share this post Share on facebook Share on google Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on pinterest Share on

Wear a Mask Like a Pro

Learn simple tips and tricks from Eat REAL’s Chief Pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene, in this Mask 101 video.

Letter From Our CEO
March 2020

The proposed standards are still in the public comment period. For the next two weeks, the USDA will continue to collect comments before approving, amending or declining the rollbacks.

It’s Time to #DoRight

URGENT: Just last week, the USDA proposed unprecedented rollbacks to our country’s school food standards. According to these reduced standards, a hash brown is now considered a piece of fruit. Allow me to state the obvious: A hash brown is not a fruit. As a new mom, I feel an obligation to stand up on behalf of

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