Tag Archives: School Nutrition Association

National School Lunch Week Asks Schools to Get in the Game

This week is National School Lunch Week. Presented by the School Nutrition Association, NSLW was created in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, and is a celebratory week of events and activities promoting the benefits of the National School Lunch Program. According to the SNA, the NSLP provides 5.1 billion lunches annually–over 3 million kids served every day. The SNA created a helpful toolkit to give ideas to schools to celebrate this week. The theme for this year’s program is “Get in the Game with School Lunch.” The goal of this theme is to emphasize the importance of balancing healthy eating and physical activity for kids.

Tips for Success

The SNA has provided a list of tips to have a successful NSLW. One of the main tips is to get students involved. It could be having a sports-themed art contest, or creating a survey about favorite menu items. No matter what you do, it’s important to make the students feel like they’re involved in the celebration. Another tip is to decorate. It’s a celebration, so it should look the part! NSLW posters can be found at the SNA’s website.

The SNA also recommends keeping parents in the loop about NSLW. There are brochures available on their website to send home with your menus so that parents know it is a special week in the cafeteria. Finally, what promotion would be complete without social media? Utilize your school’s Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, blog and more to get the word out about NSLW.

Celebration Ideaskid soccer

There are several ways to engage students, parents and faculty during this week. One idea is to bring in a local athlete to talk to your students about the importance of eating healthy for energy. It’s one thing for Mr. Anderson to tell the class to eat healthy. It’s another thing for DEREK JETER to tell the class to eat healthy! That’s what I’m talking about (Okay, so Derek Jeter probably won’t be available to talk to your school, but local high school or college athletes would!).

Another idea shared by the SNA is to distribute pieces of paper shaped like footballs or baseballs to students, asking them what their favorite sports or activities are, as well as what healthy meal they should eat beforehand for energy. You could post or hang these in the cafeteria for the week.

For staff, it might be fun to ask them to wear sports costumes for lunch. Whether it’s their favorite team’s jersey, or as a referee, getting staff involved really helps drive enthusiasm for the program.

Get in the Game

For more information on NSLW, click here. And if you need any kitchen equipment or supplies, don’t hesitate to visit our website or call 800-215-9293 to speak to one of our helpful product consultants

Image at top photo credit: School Nutrition Association

school food service

Latest School Food Service News and Pre-Holiday Checklist

As the holiday season inches closer and closer, catch up on the latest school food service news and create a pre-holiday checklist.

school food serviceLatest School Food Service News

President Signs Bill To Increase EpiPens in Schools

With life threatening allergies on the rise, President Obama signed a bill on Wednesday November 13 to increase EpiPens in schools.  Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

FAME Award Winners Announced

Winners have been announced for the 25th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program.   Sandra Ford, SNS, director, Food and Nutrition Services of the Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Fla. won Golden Food Service Director of the Year. Read about this award and learn about other award winners from the School Nutrition Association.

Data Now Available for National School Lunch Participation and More

The USDA has updated data for Child Nutrition Tables. Learn about National School Lunch and School Breakfast participation, program costs, meals served and more on from the USDA.

Changes to National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services has proposed a rule “to amend the eligibility regulations for free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to codify the statutory provision that establishes the community eligibility provision, a reimbursement option for eligible local educational agencies and schools that wish to offer free school meals to all children in high poverty schools without collecting household applications.” Read the rule in it’s entirety or read a summarized version from the the School Nutrition Association.

Farm to School Month and School to Farm Census Results

October was the USDA’s Farm to School Month. During this year’s event, they released the first “Farm to School Census” from the 2011 to 2012 school year.  This study concluded there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food.  Read more from the USDA and view the census results.

school food servicePre-Holiday Checklist

Replace Old Equipment

It is easy to ignore problems or or fail to keep up with routine maintenance when it comes to food service equipment–that is until something goes out completely.  Never wait until equipment is broken because in some cases it can take days for a service call to get resolved (which could be detrimental to your operation).  Take some time to review routine maintenance goals and replace equipment (or supplies) if necessary.

Review Food Safety Goals

Make sure school food service employees are following all food safety guidelines from proper handwashing techniques to cooking food thoroughly. Our Food Safety Resource Guide can help fill in any blanks and read articles about food safety on our blog.

Implement or Reassess Food Allergy Protocol

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one of every 13 children are affected by food allergies. Whether your school food service is very familiar with allergies, or is just learning how to implement procedures, it’s important to review your strategy.  In October, the CDC released “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs” which is a great resource for schools of all levels.

school food serviceApply for Grants

Take advantage of potential free money to improve your school food service. Here are a  few grants currently available on a national level, be sure to search your area for local grants:

Analyze Food Buying Procedures

Take some time to review how much your school food service is buying and spending.  The National Food Service Management Institute of the University of Mississippi has created this helpful “Food Buying Guide” which is a calculator for the child nutrition programs.  It allows you to choose a type of food, serving size and number of servings then calculates how much should be purchased.  This is a free feature that doesn’t require (or even have) login information; simply print or email your list.

 

National School Lunch Week: School Lunch–What’s Cooking?

The School Nutrition Association’s annual event, National School Lunch Week, was celebrated this year the week of October 14-20 with the theme “School Lunch–What’s Cooking?

National School Lunch Week is the conclusion of a three month campaign that began in July.

School Lunch–What’s Cooking?

“School Lunch–What’s Cooking?” is based on the revisions made to school nutrition guidelines and has focused on showcasing how schools have adapted to the changes.

These changes were implemented on July 1, 2012 by the USDA and increased the amount of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in schools.  It also updated dietary restrictions.

Schools Are Stepping It Up

The School Nutrition Association explained this year’s theme  has been “about celebrating positive changes that have been made in school lunch programs across the country.”

They also added that schools have really stepped it up and can showcase their work and share their ideas through this campaign.

National School Lunch Week is a great way for schools to share what they’ve done and bring awareness to healthy meals.  The School Nutrition Association encourages schools to get involved on their website and through Facebook.  Stories and successes submitted to their website will have a chance to be featured in the April 2013 issue of School Nutrition Magazine.

Articles and Resources

For more information about National School Lunch Week, visit some of these resources:

Sharing Your Celebration (For School Lunches)

Tools for Kids

What Makes A School Meal?

Presidential Proclamation

Jamie Oliver: National School Lunch Week

QSR: National School Lunch Week Spotlights Healthy Choices

Take Your Parents To Lunch Day

 

 

 

Foodservice Industry Resources

From schools to restaurants, it’s always great to have some resources to find the latest foodservice industry information.  Here are a few resources, along with their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Please comment below and share your favorites!

Nation’s Restaurant News

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Foodservice.com

Website

Facebook

Twitter

School Nutrition Association

Website

Facebook

Fed Up With Lunch

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Mobile Food News

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Energy Star

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Smart Blog on Restaurants

Website

Facebook

Twitter

QSR

Website

Facebook

Twitter

What’s Been Going On with National School Meal and Fitness Programs?

Even though students have been out of the classroom and cafeteria for the summer, the national programs have kept themselves busy.  Much has been going on and as students are heading back, here is a recap of a few important events.

SNA’s “The State of School Nutrition 2011”

Image from SNA website

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) released their “School Nutrition Operations Report: The State of School Nutrition 2011,” and it looks like many schools will be guiding their students in a healthier direction.

They reported in this press release, “…more than 69 percent of the 1,294 directors surveyed consider implementing recently proposed nutrition standards for school meals, which require more of these healthy options, to be their top concern.” The lack of healthy foods was caused by a combination of funding limitations and food costs.  Now, schools all over the country are working hard to serve more nutritious meals. Click here for the full press release.

The USDA Grants Over $7.5 Million To National School Meal Programs

Stemming from SNA’s “The State of School Nutrition 2011,” many schools claimed monetary issues as the reason behind a lack of healthier foods.  Well, it looks as though the USDA has recognized this issue, and found aiding this cause to be a great investment.

On August 18 they announced this grant, (stated in this press release), and said by granting this money, it will “improve efficiency and accuracy of National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.” States awarded grants include Hawaii, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Washington.  They mention grant periods will be between one and three years.  To find full information, click here for their full press release.

Let’s Move! Holds Family Fitness Day

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative has been inspiring schools, children, parents, etc. to live a healthier lifestyle filled with nutritious foods and exercise.   On August 22, they held a Let’s Move Outside! Family Fitness Day at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

According to the Let’s Move website, there were around 400 children and their parents in attendance.  The event held their first “Spectacle Island 5K Race and Kids Fun Run,” and also included various exercise and activity programs and workshops.

Resources

Below are a list of resources to bookmark to keep informed during this school year:

Afterschool Snacks

Let’s Move! Blog

National School Lunch Program

National School Breakfast Program

School Nutrition Association News

USDA Newsroom

Central’s Week in Brief: August 19, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

 1. While food trucks and restaurants have been battling it out since the trend began, a part of Canada may just be figuring out how to make the relationship work.  This Calgary Herald article discusses a new food truck pilot program, which essentially maps out where food trucks can park. One of the individuals interviewed even told the reporter he had received calls from restaurants and pubs in the area asking he park near them!

2. Lately restaurants have been getting slack for unhealthy menu items, but let’s not forget those who really are making changes for the better.  MSN Fitbie covered the topic showcasing some of these healthier changes such as Cheesecake Factory’s SkinnyLicious menu items, McDonald’s revised Happy Meal that replaces fries with apples and Chick-fil-A’s multigrain oatmeal.

3. Where do Millennials (ages 16-24) enjoy dining the most?  Quick-service restaurants.  It makes sense, after all they are always on the go.  Convenience Store News recently wrote about the Executive Insights report that looked into this, finding 20 percent of Generation Y go to a QSR every other day.  Some favorite QSRs found in the study included Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, Chipolte and Boston Market.

4. Schools are continuously looking for ways to curb childhood obesity.  This USA Today article discusses one of the latest topics from a School Nutrition Association (SNA) survey, which looked into how long students actually have for lunch.  They found the average time was 25-30 minutes, but after factoring in using the restroom then waiting in the lunch line, it’s approximately 10-15 minutes.  SNA found healthy foods can take longer to eat and in a rush, students opt for the unhealthier quicker items. Perhaps making lunch a little longer could help in solving the childhood obesity problem?

5. “Rockuccinos” and “You Shook Me All Night Long Moscatos” makes one wonder if rock bands are taking over the foodservice industry.  Well, it might be a possibility! KISS will be opening up a coffee house in Las Vegas, which will be their second location (the first being in Myrtle Beach).  Then band AC/DC recently announced a new partnership with New South Wales on a wine collection.  This New York Post article mentions some of the names which are “Back in Black” Shiraz, “Highway to Hell” Cabernet Sauvignon and “Hells Bells” Sauvignon Blanc.

School’s Back in Session! Top Five Resources for Your School Cafeteria

It’s August and many students are headed back to the classroom which means they’re heading back to your cafeteria. Now, more than ever, schools across the country are re-evaluating menus and updating standards to make students healthier and to promote food safety. Here are five great resources to get your cafeteria on the right track, or to help you improve current procedures.

Image from Let’s Move! website

Let’s Move!

What it’s about: First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to help raise a healthier generation of children.

How it can help your school: They provide guidance for everyone in the school from the principal to foodservice staff. Let’s Move! has brought on changes and updated standards to the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast programs and have also launched other initiatives such as Chefs Move to Schools and HealthierUS School Challenge

Important links:

Let’s Move! Healthy Schools

Chefs Move to Schools

The HealthierUS School Challenge

Five Simple Steps to Success

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Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)

What it’s about: FAAN is a credible and trusted source of information, programs and resources for food allergies and anaphylaxis. Their mission is “to raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.”

How it can help your school: They assist schools in food allergy training and protocol.  They also provide detailed information about the different types of food allergies.

Important links:

Safe at School Resources for Schools, Camps and Child Care Centers

Education for School Professionals

School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies

Food Allergy Action Plan

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National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools (NCFSS)

What it’s about: They improve food safety in America’s schools.

How it can help your school: NCFSS provides information specifically for foodservice staff on safely handling food.

Important links:

Food Safety for Foodservice Professionals

Action Guide—Materials for Each Team Member

Responding to a Food Recall

Food Safety Checklist (Word)

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School Nutrition Association (SNA)

What it’s about: SNA provides high-quality, low-cost meals to students and have been “advancing the availability, quality and acceptance of school nutrition programs as an integral part of education since 1946.”

How it can help your school: For one, if you aren’t already a member, you may want to consider becoming one (click here for information).  SNA has some information available to the public on their website, but membership includes extensive education and training.  SNA sets standards through certification and credentials, gathers and shares several kinds of important school nutrition news, legislation, etc., and represents the nutritional interests of all children.

Important links:

Resource Center

Preparing School Meals

Menu Planning

Teaching Kids About Nutrition

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Other Initiatives

What it’s about: The government and other programs have updated standards and have released new information about nutrition in schools.

How it can help your school: These resources will keep your cafeteria current with the latest initiatives and standards and/or will give you ideas for improvement.

Important links:

MyPlate

Cafeteria Composting Plan

World Health Organization (WHO) Global School Health Initiative

USDA School Meals