2017 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit

Registration is now open for the 2017 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit on May 23-24th. This two-day Summit will take place at the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, MA and gather school nutrition directors and managers from across the Commonwealth to promote healthy students and healthy school nutrition programs.

Each day of the Summit provides 5½ continuing education hours to meet USDA Professional Standards training needs. School nutrition directors are encouraged to register their managers for May 23rd which includes a breakout session specifically for school nutrition managers.

Download the 2017 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit.

The Summit will begin on May 23rd at 8 am and on both days, you can select breakout sessions from one of these three learning tracks:

  • Growing your Business – Explore marketing techniques and strategies to increase student participation.
  • Leading your Business – Learn new marketing techniques and strategies to increase student participation.
  • Maximizing Your Business – Discover financial management strategies to enhance your program’s purchasing and procurement process.

Register for the Summit by May 5th.  The cost is $60 per day or $100 for both days. You can view the full schedule for both days in the brochure here.

The two-day conference is sponsored by the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition.

 

 

Westport Explores Food Allergies and Ways to Add Flavor and Flair to School Meals

Written by Guest Blogger Katelyn Castro, Dietetic Intern at Tufts Medical Center

In the United States, eight foods or food groups account for 90% of all serious allergic reactions: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean, shellfish, wheat, soy, peanut, and tree nuts. Identifying foods containing these major allergens, developing appropriate substitutions, and avoiding cross-contact during food preparation in schools can be life-saving for children with severe food allergies. School nutrition employees play an essential role in providing a safe and inclusive cafeteria environment for children with food allergies.

On March 17, 2017 JSI hosted a Workshop to Go: Food Allergies for Westport Community Schools, which gave school staff members an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how to manage food allergies in their school systems. Registered Dietitian, Christanne Harrison, provided training on food allergies versus food intolerances, the top 8 allergens, common food allergy symptoms, and suggestions for allergen-free menu substitutions. With activities on label reading, staff members learned to recognize hidden food allergens. With practice scenarios and groups discussions, staff also identified strategies to ensure a allergy safe school environment and a concrete emergency response plan. All content of the workshop was based upon the newly updated Managing Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools guidance.

In addition to the 2-hour food allergy workshop, the Westport school nutrition staff also participated in JSI’s Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals Workshop presented by Janyl Finnerty, a chef and registered dietitian. Throughout the workshop, Westport school nutrition staff explored K-12 food trends, taste and flavor preferences, food presentation techniques, and simple ways to enhance the flavor and appeal of school meals. Did you know taste testing was found to be the number one trend to promote healthier choices in schools, based on a 2015 survey by the School Nutrition Association? Taste testing is one of many strategies discussed in this workshop that school nutrition staff can utilize to increase interest in healthy school foods.

With multiple activities incorporated into the Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals Workshop, staff members learned how to enhance the flavor of vegetables by creating and tasting four spice blends. Recipe demonstrations of a Broccoli Salad and Tunisian Chickpea Salad also introduced ways to make quick and easy recipes that are also flavorful, healthy, and appealing to children.

Delicious Broccoli Salad

Workshop resources for Food Allergies and for Infusing Flavor and Flair into School Meals can be found in the JSI Resource Center. Visit the JSI webpage to learn more about the professional development opportunities to help you improve your school’s nutrition with engaging, interactive and practical workshops tailored to your school’s needs.

10 Social Media Tips to Promote Your Program

1. Know Your Audience

  • Each social media account will have a different audience. Once you understand the individuals that will be reading and engaging with your posts you can personalize your content to match their interests.
  • For example, your Facebook community may be comprised of parents so you can focus on upcoming nutrition events and happenings in your school but your Instagram following might only consist of students so you can share fun photos, upcoming menus and host photo contests.

2. A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

  • Make sure your content stands out by including photos and videos that will catch your audience’s attention as they scroll through social media channels on their phone or computer.

Play with menu items to ensure they are eye-catching when you share them online.

3 . Bring Attention to Your Social Media Channels

  • If you want to grow your communities, you can promote your social channels online and in your school. Include your social media links on school handouts, lunchroom bulletins and posters. If your school has a main Facebook page or Twitter account, ask them to share links to your nutrition-focused pages in their “ABOUT” section or in upcoming posts.

4. Think Ahead for New Content

  • Use upcoming school events, relevant holidays (March is National Nutrition Month!) and school happenings for new social media content. Stay ahead of ‘what’s coming up next’ so you can post that content when it’s relevant and timely.

    National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

5. Use Social Media to Promote Nutrition with Students

  • Run a social media photo contest to get students excited about nutrition. Encourage students to eat more fruits and vegetables by asking them to share a photo of their lunch plates on Instagram or have them nominate new lunch menu items by using a a hashtag on Twitter (students ages 13 and up).

    Locke Middle School in Billerica, MA created the #mealonpoint Instagram challenge to encourage students to eat a well-balanced meal and Instagram a photo of their healthy choice for the chance to win a prize.

6. Engage with your Followers

  • Check your social media accounts for just ten minutes each day and engage, as needed. Social media is an online community and fans and followers will be more inclined to engage with your posts, if you also like and respond to their comments and spark an ongoing dialogue.

7. What’s Working and What’s Not

  • Most social media platforms have an analytics section (example: Facebook Insights) that shows you what content is resonating with your audience. Check these insights to adjust your content and increase engagement.

8. Get Inspired through Social Media

  • Follow other school nutrition programs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to get content inspiration for your channels.

9. Share JSI Content

  • If something that JSI shares on social media is worth sharing on your channels, feel free to click SHARE or RT and pass it along to your

10. Utilize the JSI Resource Center

  • Visit the JSI Resource Center for additional resources to use social media to promote school nutrition programs and increase your social media presence.

 

Medfield Public Schools Go Back to Basics

Introducing vegetables and fruits to students at an early age will help them to make healthier food choices for a lifetime. Using culinary techniques to make fruits and vegetables more appealing can be an effective way to increase student consumption. With the JSI Workshop to Go: Back to Basics Fresh Vegetables and Fruits training, school nutrition staff learn more about how to use produce from local farms and give canned, frozen, and fresh vegetables a flavor boost. Staff will create new, appealing ways of presenting vegetables and fruits to students, sharpen cutting and peeling skills, and discover the best practices to purchase, prepare, store and freeze produce in this hands-on cooking class.

On February 2, 2017, Medfield Public Schools invited JSI to present the Workshop to Go: Back to Basics Fresh Vegetables and Fruits. Chef Brendan Gallagher began the workshop by asking the staff to taste and compare vegetables prepped in a traditional way to those prepared using an alternative method, such as sautéing, roasting and blanching. It was no surprise that the new culinary techniques were preferred.

Scratch and speed scratch recipes that incorporate USDA foods as well as local fresh produce result in lower food costs for the school nutrition program. During this workshop, the school nutrition staff put their knowledge to work with a hands-on cooking activity where each small group worked as a team to prepare a recipe from scratch.

Interested in more information? Check out the resources used in the Back to Basics: Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Workshops to Go in the JSI Resource Center. Please visit the JSI website for more information. Take a step towards improving your school’s nutrition, and request a Workshop to Go today!

Needham Hosts Food Allergies Workshop

Approximately six million children in the U.S have one or more food allergies, and among this population, 16-18% have experienced a reaction in school (National Education Association’s Food Allergy Book). JSI provides the Workshops to Go: Food Allergies to support the food allergy training needs of Massachusetts school staff. This workshop is based upon the newly updated Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Schools that provides staff with strategies to prevent allergic reactions and respond appropriately if an issue was to arise.

On January 31, 2017 JSI hosted the Workshop to Go: Food Allergies for Needham Public Schools. This workshop provided school staff members with training on the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance, the top 8 food allergens, in addition to provided tips on how to search food labels for potential allergens. During the workshop, participants also discussed strategies to manage food allergies in their schools. Some of the workshop activities included:

  • Tips For Avoiding Hidden Food Allergens
  • Identifying Food Allergens
  • Practice Scenarios

Needham Public School Staff Members at Food Allergies Workshop to Go

Find more resources used in the Workshops to Go: Food Allergies in the JSI Resource Center. The Food Allergy Book can be downloaded from the National Education Assciation (NEA) website. Unable to attend a workshop? No problem! JSI offers an online 2-hour training on Food Allergies that you can schedule on your own time! Please visit the JSI website for more information or to schedule a Workshop to Go today!