Professional Development at The John C. Stalker Institute

The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities to support school nutrition programs in Massachusetts.

Save the date for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs 2-day Summit on May 20 & 21, 2015 to be held at the Sheraton Four Points in Norwood. In addition, JSI is planning a new session for the NEW LIFE Leadership program starting in the spring of 2015 – more details to follow.

JSI Professional Development

Students Compete in Iron Chef Jr. Event at Milton Public Schools

On November 3, 2014 twenty-four fifth grade students teamed up for the second annual Iron Chef Jr. competition hosted by the Milton Public School Food Services. Each team put their heads together to prepare a meal using a “secret basket” of ingredients. This year, the mystery ingredients were frozen spinach, frozen carrot coins, boneless chicken thigh meat and black beans. Teams also had a choice of whole grains, including rice, tortillas, dough balls, ravioli, and pasta. To assist the students in the kitchen, five local chefs were recruited for the event: Tony Derienzo from Abby Park, Esteban Gallego from Ester Restaurant, Lauren Barone from Seasoned Palette Catering, Tim Doherty from the Blue Hills Grille and Maureen Buckley from Whole Foods in Dedham. After reviewing the rules and revealing the mystery ingredients, teams quickly began preparing their unique dishes.


Each teams’ dish was scored by a panel of “celebrity judges,” including Katie Millett, Executive Director of Nutrition, Health and Safety at the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mary Gormley, Superintendent of Milton Schools, John Grant, Fire Chief of Milton, Holly Concannon, Principal of Collicot School in Milton, Jonathan Redden, Principal of Cunningham School in Milton, and a fellow grade five student.

After the judges’ scoring, there was a tie for first place. The tie was between the Blue Hill’s Grille team with a chicken, bean, carrot burrito, a spinach tart, and a salad and the Whole Food’s team with a spinach and chicken pasta dish and a carrot, tomato and bean salad.

ironchef2This competition aims to expose Milton students to a variety of new, nutritious foods through a unique culinary experience. Students also learn about the new regulations introduced through the National School Lunch Program.  This competition encourages participants to foster their creativity and build skills to prepare healthy dishes at home. Everyone is a winner in the end!

For more information about the amazing work done by Milton Public School Food Services, check out this 2014 slide show. To get your child involved in next year’s Iron Chef Jr. event, contact Jackie Morgan, Director of Food Services at Milton Public Schools @

~ Blog written by: Eliana Lakritz, B.S., FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student

Amendments to the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards

On November 12, the Massachusetts Public Health Council approved changes to the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages, and these revisions will become effective December 5, 2014. The amendments include adjusting some of the state standards to be more in line with the federal standards. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will update Healthy Students, Healthy Schools: Guidance for Implementing the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages to reflect these revisions.

The John C. Stalker Institute offers three tools to help Massachusetts schools meet both the state and federal competitive food and beverage nutritional standards.

  1. The A-List is an up-to-date and ever-expanding list of vending and snack items that meets both the Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools and the USDA’s Smart Snacks nutritional standards, whichever is stricter.
  2. MassNETS helps schools determine if packaged items, not on The A-List, meet the nutritional standards.
  3. JSI Recipe Tool generates a nutrition facts panel for snack recipes served in the school cafeteria. Once analyzed, these recipes can be easily saved, shared and printed. This online tool helps schools to meet the requirement to make nutrition information available to students for non-packaged items served in the cafeteria.

JSI Resources for Schools 2 (1)

Infographic by JSI Intern Audrey

Visit the School Nutrition Regulations and Standards page in the JSI Resource Center for more information about state and federal standards for foods sold in public schools.