Norwood Gets Back to Basics with Vegetables and Fruits


Sliced peppers and red onions on a pan with oil, a dash of salt, and pepper

Sliced peppers and red onions to be roasted for the vegetable wrap

On Wednesday, October 22, Chef Tracey Burg, RD presented JSI’s Back to Basics: Fruits and Vegetables workshop to the school nutrition staff at Norwood Public Schools.  This fun-filled interactive workshop provides culinary and nutrition education focused on fruits and vegetables.

Chef Tracey prepared a fruit salad with homemade tzatziki sauce and allowed the staff to enjoy it while she explained the nutritional benefits and complementary flavors of the fruit and sauce. After a brief explanation of the objectives of the workshop, the staff got right to work. Staff honed their culinary skills using a variety of kid-friendly vegetable and fruit recipes.


School nutrition staff slicing celery.

School nutrition professional slicing fresh celery properly

The workshop also provided simple steps for the school nutrition staff to use vegetables more effectively in a way the students would accept.  Each step and ingredient in the recipe led to improved flavor and appeal. Use of spices and herbs instead of salt was emphasized to keep the vegetables colorful, flavorful, and healthy.

Each recipe was unique in the methods of cooking, spices and herbs used, and the main entree they would be a part of. The final show of the teams’ work was displayed before tasting everything.

After this workshop the staff of Norwood Public Schools can feel confident freshly preparing and serving even more healthy, fun, and delicious lunches to the students!

The array of food items made by school nutrition staff on a table.

From back left clockwise: Sweet Potato Tots, Roasted Vegetable Wraps, Mouthwatering Fruit Salad, Sweet and Sour Salad, Black Bean and Corn Fiesta Salad, Sauteed Carrots

Interested in bringing this workshop to your school? Click here for a Workshop to Go!

Need some healthy, kid-approved recipes? See some from the JSI recipe contest.


Free School Nutrition Workshops for MetroWest Schools


mwf.logo.colorThanks to a grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation, funds are available during the 2014-2015 school year to cover the cost of up to two JSI Workshops to Go. Each school district from the 25 MetroWest towns shown below are eligible. It is as easy as 1,2,3…

Map of the MetroWest towns and cities

Map of the 25 communities served by the MetroWest Health Foundation



1. Select up to two Workshops to Go

2. Schedule your Workshop to Go

3. Enter WAIVED METROWEST in the PO/Check Number field


The Foundation serves the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. This includes the following 25 communities and school districts:

Ashland, Bellingham, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Medfield, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley, and Westborough

View the flyer for this grant.

Read the descriptions of our Workshops to Go.

Request a Workshop to Go. Make sure to write “Waived MetroWest” in the PO/Check Number field!


Resources Schools Can Use

If you need resources for your school nutrition program, we have some new materials for you! We’ve added two new categories to the JSI Resource Center, Smart Snacking and Webinars, in addition to updating our collection of links that we feature in our workshops.

Green apples in polished brown wood bowlSmart Snacking

This category features links for information and resources about the Massachusetts and federal snack requirements for public schools.


Young Woman Sitting Looking at Laptop ScreenWebinars

This category features links to free webinars related to school nutrition. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available for some courses.


Black Laptop ComputerJSI Professional Development Resources

We have been updating the resources that we provide in our professional development courses. Take a look!


Visit the JSI Resource Center for the latest information on school nutrition from credible sources anywhere, and at anytime.

Substitution Solutions to Meet the Meal Pattern

What menu substitutions would your school nutrition program make for this scenario? Spinach salad and red pepper strips are on Tuesday’s lunch menu at Jonestown High School.  Due to a vendor delivery issue neither spinach nor red peppers were delivered this week. On October 29th the school nutrition staff from the Dover Sherborn Regional High School and Middle School addressed this scenario and more in the Substitution Solutions Workshop to Go led by JSI presenter, Lynn Petrowski.

Lynn Petrowski introducing the Meal or No Meal game to attentive school nutrition professionals To get ready to tackle the above scenario, participants  first played a lively game called Meal or No Meal, where they determined if each school lunch tray was reimbursable or not.

Lynn Petrowski showing a yellow and a red beetThe group was then ready to make menu substitutions for real-life school scenarios. A 3-step approach for making substitution solutions was used: 1.) Communicate, 2.) Use the Right Resources, such as the food component and vegetable subgroup chart and the whole grain equivalency chart (at the end of this USDA memo), and 3.) Document on Production Sheets. The group discussed each scenario using the resources provided and previous knowledge to make a solution. The workshop completed with staff being more confident in overcoming future obstacles.

Substitution Solutions is an effective workshop to help school nutrition staff make the correct substitutions for menu items offered in their school lunch program.

Click here to schedule your Workshop to Go!

To learn about school nutrition standards and regulations click here.


Meeting a Wellness Policy Requirement with School Nutrition Lessons

Looking for ideas to meet the nutrition education requirements of your school wellness policy? We have some resources for you!

Kids Getting on School BusFederal and Massachusetts legislation require that school wellness policies address:

There are many ways to incorporate nutrition lessons into the school day. A few popular strategies include integrating nutrition into all areas of the curriculum, such as math and science, utilizing a coordinated school health approach, and partnering with your school nutrition program.

Integrate nutrition into the curriculum:
The JSI Resource Center provides hundreds of online resources in one location to address school nutrition. Suggestions for nutrition-related lesson plans can be found in the Go Green for Schools and Lessons for Elementary, Middle and High Schools categories in the JSI Resource Center.

Coordinated school health:
The Wellness Solution, a collaborative effort with JSI and other partners, provides resources to support and strengthen wellness policies in Massachusetts schools. The site summarizes state and federal wellness policy regulations to clarify the requirements, and provides tools to help Massachusetts schools meet the guidelines.

Partner with your school nutrition program:
As part of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at Framingham State University (FSU), students intern with school nutrition programs across the state, teaching nutrition lessons in the classroom. The Wellness Solution blog highlights some of the nutrition education lessons that FSU students have taught in schools throughout Massachusetts.

For more information on school wellness policies, visit The Wellness Solution website and the School Wellness Initiatives and Policies page in the JSI Resource Center.

Moving Up! at the SNA of Massachusetts’ 63rd Annual Fall Conference

The School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts held their 63rd Annual Fall Conference and Show, Be Inspired!, this past week. This conference included discussions on creating opportunities in school nutrition, lunch lady heroes, and a look at the most recent updates on the federal and state regulations. View the SNA of Mass. 63rd Conference brochure here.

One of the panels at the conference, Moving Up!, featured inspiring success stories from school nutrition leaders who worked their way up in school foodservice. For example, Allison Johnson originally held a B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University. She later became a part-time manager for a cafe on Cape Cod while in school, obtained an M.Ed. in Nutrition Education, and worked in several public school foodservice settings up to her current position as Foodservice Director for Foxborough Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Nadine Doucette began her career as a substitute cafeteria worker in 2000, later becoming a full-time employee, a baker/manager’s assistant, and finally to her present position as Food Service Manager for the Pembroke Public Schools.

Janelle Madden has worked for 22 years in the private foodservice setting. Madden has also worked as a cafeteria worker, pizza maker, and manager in the Needham Public School system, and is now the Food and Nutrition Service Director for the Dover-Sherborn Public School District.

Moving Up! at SNA of Mass. Conference

The Moving Up! panel. Pictured from left to right: Allison Johnson (Foxborough), Nadine Doucette (Pembroke), Janelle Madden (Dover-Sherborn), Dina Wiroll (Billerica), Catherine Donovan (Hamilton-Wenham), and Karen McGrail (JSI)

Dina Wiroll‘s introduction into school lunch occurred with a phone call to the Billerica Public Schools Nutrition Services Director, regarding her type 1 diabetic son. This eventually led her to transition from private nutrition consulting, to being the Nutrition Services Site Coordinator for the Billerica Public School System.

Finally, Catherine Donovan first earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration at the University of Massachusetts. Donovan is currently working towards a Master’s in Education Concentration in Nutrition Education at Framingham State University, and is serving her 14th year as Director of Food Services for the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District.

Professional development builds skills and advances knowledge, often allowing for career advancement. Soon, minimum professional development requirements will be established for school nutrition professionals, as outlined in the USDA’s proposed professional standards. In the Moving Up! discussion, Karen McGrail from the John C. Stalker Institute (JSI) shared the many professional development opportunities available to Massachusetts school nutrition professionals:

Professional Development for Directors

Professional Development for Managers

Professional Development for School Nutrition Staff

In addition, the JSI Resource Center provides a variety of resources for school nutrition professionals, such as nutrition training, school nutrition regulations and standards, and more.