Learning Extends to the Lunchroom in Minnesota

The cafeterias of Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools (MN) not only serve nutritious foods, they also work to offer students experiential learning opportunities in the cafeteria. The nutrition program introduces students to culturally relevant foods through a monthly program and has developed a life skills lesson component to a coffee delivery program at the high school. Through regular sampling in the cafeteria, events with local farmers and student gardens, the nutrition program engages students of all different ages in nutrition education.

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VA Team Engages Students Outside the Cafeteria

The school nutrition team in Harrisonburg City Public Schools (VA) prepares more than just healthy school meals during the school day. Team members engage with their students through community initiatives, enrichment programs, after-school meal service as well as weekend programs. According to the nutrition director, members of the team love extra opportunities to work with the students, even if it means volunteering after school hours.

Harrisonburg’s nutrition team supports an Emerging Chefs program for young members of the community involved in the On the Road Collaborative. The non-profit organization based in Harrisonburg works with underserved youth and shows them different career paths.

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More Students Opt for School Meals in MA

Massachusetts is one of five states offering free school meals for all students in the 2022-23 school year following the expiration of federal waivers that provided free meals for all last year. As a result, about 77% of students in the North Andover Public Schools district are eating school lunch every day – and enjoying all the great options the program is offering. 

The increase in meal participation is a win for the school district and the students. Additional funding means the nutrition department can focus energy on making improvements, from enhancing menus and increasing scratch cooking to implementing new service options to ensure students can start their day with a healthy breakfast.

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Decorating Plates to Celebrate Healthy Meals

Each year during National School Lunch Week (NSLW), nutrition staff at Spring Independent School District (ISD) in Texas looks for ways to engage students and get them excited about healthy school lunches.

Located just outside of Houston, more than 95% of the district’s 33,500 students participate in the lunch program daily. School nutrition staff is committed to making sure supply chain challenges or staffing shortages have minimal effect on the meals they are serving and they continue to find ways to keep hungry student customers well nourished.

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Students create healthy recipes for Culinary Arts Fair

School nutrition professionals in one rural West Virginia district wanted to do more to educate students about nutrition, recognizing that engaging with students could help the effort to lower obesity rates and improve health. Wyoming County School District‘s Director of Child Nutrition and General Wellness Programs Rhonda Thomas created a student culinary arts fair to encourage a friendly competition for students to create healthy recipes.

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After School Cooking Classes Expand Learning

Students in two eastern Ohio districts have the opportunity to make snacks and simple meals for their families in an after-school cooking program that combines kitchen basics and recipes with educational lessons. The students make everything from pizza and parfaits to pies and salads, and learn how they can prepare food at home, letting parents join in the fun. 

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Connecting Classroom to Cafeteria in CT

When a student going through the lunch line asked why there was a potato in the fruit basket, Kate Murphy, SNS, Food Service Director for Naugatuck Public Schools in Connecticut, had an “ah ha moment.” Realizing that the child didn’t recognize a pear, Murphy determined more had to be done to support nutrition education.

While researching ideas for CT Grown for CT Kids Week, Murphy identified resources available from local farmers that could be used to create lesson plans. She knew it had to be something kids would be interested in – that’s when she got her big idea: pickles!

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