News Roundup

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive real, wholesome food and freshly grown produce while making strides to end hunger in Massachusetts. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In September, our keynote speaker Chef Dan Giusti from this year’s 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit was featured on The Today Show. In this video segment, Chef Dan discusses his work with Brigaid and his mission to bring professional chefs to the front-lines of school nutrition.

In September, Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, Massachusetts received a grant kickstarting a new farm-to-school program. In this grant, the school expects to build three greenhouses, two supply sheds, ten raised beds, and an outdoor classroom. This grant will help involve students in not only eating healthfully but growing the produce and the program themselves.

In September, Waltham Public Schools partnered with Project Bread to ramp up school menus. Project Bread, which is an organization committed to preventing and ending hunger in Massachusetts, is sending Chef Vanessa to schools across the district to implement new recipes and creations for students to try.

News Roundup

Photo: February 2019 SNA Publication

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals and learn about new food topics, while also helping serve their community members. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In November, an article detailed the partnership between Framingham State University and Sodexo with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. In this partnership, a trial was implemented on the FSU campus to assess the biological effects of different macronutrient diets.

In February, Waltham public schools were recognized for their reworked breakfast and lunch school programs. Some of the upgrades made to the district’s programs included bringing speakers in to do short presentations on food topics for children, incorporating herbs and plants into the curriculum, and partnering with Greater Boston Food Bank to help Waltham residents in need of food.

In February, Boston mayor Marty Walsh discussed My Way Café, which is a new program being implemented into many Boston schools to deliver fresh food to young children. The program allows students the opportunity to choose delicious and nutritious meals cafeteria-style in their schools.

In the February edition SNA magazine, Billerica Public Schools were highlighted for their Food Market – a coordinated program promoted by the BPS School Nutrition department. The Market is open to all residents of Billerica and features a selection of 15-20 different fresh and shelf-stable items and serves around 1,600 community members.

News Roundup

Broccoli, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes prepared for healthy school lunch.School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals, access to fruits and vegetables, a healthy breakfast to start their day, and lessons in eating locally – among many other things. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Continues to Spread in Massachusetts

With funding and enthusiastic support from the Office for Food and Nutrition Programs at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition (JSI) is pleased to extend the Smarter Lunchrooms initiative to 25 new schools across the Commonwealth for the 2016-2017 school year. Since May 2015, over 50 Massachusetts schools joined and successfully participated in this program.

The 25 participating schools will receive hands-on technical assistance from a Smarter Lunchrooms Certified Coach. The coach will visit each school and provide:

  • One 3-hour initial visit to complete a Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard. During this visit, the coach will take photos of the current lunch set-up, present a 30-minute Smarter Lunchrooms training for staff and work with each school to create a Smarter Lunchrooms plan of action.
  • One 2-hour follow-up visit to repeat the Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard and take follow-up pictures of all lunch service changes. The coach will also collect production records and help evaluate each school’s success.

The 2015-2016 program’s success is encouraging as the next wave of this program is about to begin for more Massachusetts schools. For the 2015-2016 program, on average, Smarter Lunchrooms scores increased by 30 percent, fruit sales increased by 9 percent and vegetable sales increased by 51 percent.

To achieve these results, schools implemented simple changes in how they presented food and educated students on healthy food options. Schools used creative engagement tools such as labeling daily fruit options with innovative names, designed signage to call attention to healthy selections and used student surveys to inform future recipe development. Take a look at a few of the low-cost Smarter Lunchroom strategies implemented by schools in Massachusetts.

Whole fruit options are displayed in attractive bowl or baskets at Litwin Elementary School in Chicopee, MA.

Whole fruit options are displayed in attractive bowl or baskets at Litwin Elementary School in Chicopee, MA.

Student groups are involved in creation of artwork promoting menu items at Barrows Elementary School in Reading, MA.

Student groups are involved in creation of artwork promoting menu items at Barrows Elementary School in Reading, MA.

Milton High School in Milton, MA dedicates a menu board to feature the next day’s menu to get students excited about food options.

Milton High School in Milton, MA dedicates a menu board to feature the next day’s menu to get students excited about food options.

To find additional information about Smarter Lunchrooms, please visit this post from the USDA blog and these useful links in JSI’s Smarter Lunchrooms category in the JSI Resource Center.