NFSMI Brings Meal Pattern Trainings to Massachusetts

JSI has partnered with the National Food Service Management (NFSMI) to bring Meal Pattern training to school nutrition staff and managers across Massachusetts.

NFSMI presented their nationwide Meal Pattern training at Quincy High School on April 9th.  NFSMI sent Carol H. Gilbert as the expert in meal planning to lead the training.  Two prior NFSMI Meal Pattern trainings were held in Massachusetts on March 8th in Pittsfield and on April 3rd in Manchester-Essex.


School nutrition professionals from Norwood, Norwell, Norton, Waltham, Weymouth, JRI, Quincy, Stoughton, Wareham, Milton and Somerville were in attendance. The large group of 40 participants had decades of experience between them and were quick to participate and willing to learn.

Carol offered great insight as to why the meal pattern changed and how to overcome common problems that many schools were facing with the new guidelines.  The group discussed changes for each meal component in all three age groups using the Final Rule Nutrition Standards for the NSLP fact sheet, and then spent time actually planning sample menus.

Carol also provided the group with a number of resources that may be useful in menu planning such as the USDA Food Buying Guide and a Food Buying Calculator.

Additional resources on the Meal Pattern can be found at:



The 4th NFSMI Meal Pattern Trainings is expected to be held in the fall. Be sure to check the JSI website for more details on that upcoming training!

JSI Brings Employee Wellness to SNA of Mass Chapter Meetings

School nutrition professionals focus on the nutrition and health of their students everyday. With a little help from JSI, they also discovered how to improve their personal nutrition and overall wellness. This school year, JSI has provided Employee Wellness Trainings at SNA of Mass Chapter Meetings across the Commonwealth. This training aligns with the strategic plan for the School Nutrition Association.

JSI recently led the SNA of Mass Chapter 3 Employee Wellness Training held at the newly renovated Tewksbury High School on March 12.

chapter meeting 1


JSI presenter Anna Tourkakis led the large group of professionals from Billerica, Reading, Tewksbury, Medford, N.Reading and Pentucket, and provided the school nutrition professionals with terrific wellness resources such as the 10 tips to a great plate10 tips to help you eat more vegetables, and the USDA SuperTracker to help plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.

SNA offers the STEPS Challenge, a wellness program created for school nutrition professionals.  It provides the resources and inspiration to help SNA members live healthier, one step at a time.  The Challenge is designed to make better health and wellness simple, fun, and attainable.  You can sign up for and find out more about the STEPS Challenge HERE!

Want to learn about more ways to bring nutrition and wellness into your school? Check out the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts.

Needham Does it Faster with Tracey Burg!

On March 7th Tracey Burg, RD led the JSI Workshop to Go “Can You Do it Faster,” at Needham High School, where staff learned new ways to increase their productivity as well as how to save energy, time, and money in the workplace.

The training took place on a snowy spring morning. Tracey got the group moving and ready to learn while explaining the importance of incorporating stretching into their day, especially when working on time-consuming tasks.  She even had the group practice the stretches!

needham exercise

needham stretching


Tracey also led the group in a discussion about how the staff could cut time and energy down on their most time consuming daily task.


There was also some friendly competition going on during this JSI training! Tracey had two volunteers demonstrate the difference in efficiency of using one hand vs. two hands when preparing a salad.

needham competition

Tracey showed the importance of using the correct kitchen tools for each task at hand to cut down on energy and time.

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Do you want to learn how to improve productivity at your school? Bring this training to your school with a JSI Workshop to Go.  Perfect for staff development days and economically priced at only $299 (minimum of ten staff required).  For more information about JSI workshop options and to request a Workshop to Go, please visit the JSI website.

Looking for more information on improving productivity? Check out the online resources on this topic in the JSI Resource Center!


Success Story: Milton Public Schools

This Success Story was submitted by Jacqueline Morgan, Director of Food Services in Milton, MA. You can also share your Success Stories here!

Whole Foods Market staff members recently visited Milton High School and Pierce Middle School as part of a collaboration between Whole Foods and the Milton Public Schools.

This partnership formed two years ago when Michelle Obama developed the “Let’s Move” Campaign. At that time our Food Service Director, Jackie Morgan, applied for a grant for a salad bar from Whole Foods. The Dedham store awarded the Pierce Middle School a $3,000 salad bar that the Food Service Department turned into a fruit and veggie cart so that students could take more fruits and veggies with their lunches.

Since then, Whole Foods staff members, including Maureen Buckley, Healthy Eating Specialist in Dedham; Alex Tillotson, Culinary Demo Specialist in Dedham; Lisa Caldwell, Healthy Eating Specialist in Wellesley; and Samantha Gafford, Customer Service Supervisor in Wellesley, have been in Pierce Middle School working with our health teacher, Chris Maine. They also have been in each of his classrooms teaching nutrition lessons.

FS team in Milton Chef in Milton Milton and Whole Foods

Recently, the team has been working with the High School Food Service team on the five half-days. Whole Foods staff members brought in a chef and and taught the Food Service staff new and creative food dishes, focusing on our newly-mandated offerings by USDA, which include dark leafy greens, orange vegetables and beans.

We are grateful to the folks at Whole Foods who have helped to make this collaboration extremely productive. I am also grateful to our Food Service staff whom have made this such a huge success.


JSI Hosts Webinar!

On February 6th, 2013, JSI hosted the first webinar for the SNA of Mass. Nutrition Committee. The webinar offered a Q&A session for nutrition questions related to the new federal meal pattern. This convenient way of sharing information was well attended – with about 75 school nutrition professionals across the state joining in on the session.  The presenters also answered live questions from the participants.

Here are some photos of the SNA of Mass Nutrition Committee working behind the scenes at the webinar:

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Here is a sneak peak at the technology classroom where the webinar took place at Framingham State University:

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A special thanks to Karen McGrail and Clair Waterbury for making this first webinar such a great success!

Did you miss the webinar? Dont worry the webinar is now posted on the members only page on the School Nutrition Association website.  After opening the link to the recorded webinar you will be prompted to “Open” the file then select “Run” to launch the application from Blackboard Collaborate. The power point presentation from the webinar is also posted here!

Stay tuned for more webinars!


Braintree Tackles Food Allergies

On January 31st, Anna Tourkakis, an “expert” presenter on food allergies led the JSI Food Allergy training at Braintree High School.  School food service employees from Braintree and neighboring towns joined together for this Workshop to Go.  The training covered the difference between food allergies and food intolerances, foods that commonly cause allergies, how to read labels for potential allergic ingredients, and other strategies to manage food allergies at school.

The participants had great questions throughout the workshop and really enjoyed the presentation.

Check out the pictures from the training!


 Anna leading the food allergy training in Braintree

Groups working together during the presentation


Do you have students in your school district with food allergies?  The Food Allergy workshop is a part of JSI’s Workshops to Go series, bringing training right to your school. JSI also has a NEW! online food allergies training which is a convenient online alternative to the face to face training!   Don’t miss out on these training opportunities, and more…on the JSI wesbite!

Looking for more information on food allergies? Check out the online resources on food allergies in the JSI Resource Center.


Massachusetts Menu Planning Project 2012-2013

On January 24th and 25th The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition (JSI), in conjunction with the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Nutrition, Health and Safety (ESE) convened an expert panel at Framingham State University to design a four-week cycle menu for the Massachusetts Menu Planning Project.  The new menu was created using the lunch preferences from an online survey of students in grades K-12 from across the Commonwealth. The survey was used to determine what students did and did not like about the lunches being served at their schools.  Members of the panel used the data from the survey results along with the new school nutrition regulatory requirements to develop a menu that will be both tasty and appealing to students. Keeping the student’s wants and needs in mind while creating this menu is important to encourage participation in the school nutrition program, as well as to allow more students to leave the school cafeteria satisfied!

Through the Massachusetts Menu Planning Project school districts will have a resource to implement a 4-week cycle menu that meets federal regulations. The menu cycle streamlines the challenges of planning menus and incorporates recipes, student preferences, and support the nutrition needs of students in Massachusetts schools.”

Katie Millett, Executive Director, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Nutrition, Health and Safety

The expert panel was made up of  representatives from the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, school nutrition directors, menu planning consultants, the JSI team, as well as stakeholders from , Project Bread, Action for Healthy Kids, United States Department of Agriculture, MA Department of Public Health and the New England Dairy Council.

Over the upcoming weeks, the team will work to finalize the menus, and then analyze the nutrients from each meal in accordance with the school lunch requirements.  Once complete, binders will be created to include the cycle menus (for each the elementary, middle and high school), nutrient analysis, recipes and food specifications. School nutrition directors should be on the lookout in the Spring for these binders!

Need some ideas on how to meet the new meal pattern into your school nutrition menu? Check out the variety of Workshops to Go offered by JSI that focus on meeting the new meal pattern.  These include the Back to Basics seriesPrep Up to the New Nutrition Guidelines and Wheel of Portion. ESE has provided additional funds targeted to support the new meal pattern requirements. Be sure to take advantage of these JSI trainings!