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Share your recipes

July 19, 2024

SNA operator members, we want to share your beloved and favorite school recipes in our K-12 Recipe Library. Help us fill it with delicious and nutritious recipes from school nutrition professionals like you. Next step -- learn more about how to submit a recipe and become a part of the growing SNA Recipe Library.
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Mich. funds free school meals for all students

July 19, 2024

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved $200 million to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students. This initiative aims to improve student participation, diet quality and food security statewide, and is expected to save families $850 per year per child. Full Story: WILX-TV (Lansing/Jackson, Mich.)
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Mark your calendar for ANC 2025

July 18, 2024

Feeling energized from #ANC24? "It's Your Moment" is the theme for next year's ANC in San Antonio, Texas -- July 13 to 15, 2025 -- and we hope you'll join in the conversation to elevate school nutrition. Mark your calendar now and see you in San Antonio.
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Don't solve team problems, coach them to solve their own

July 17, 2024

Your team doesn't want you to solve their problems; they want you to coach them so they can learn to figure things out on their own, says Bruce Watt, senior vice president at DDI, whose research found that 40% of leaders say their managers don't have adequate coaching skills. Companies need to invest in a culture of coaching, says Watt, which includes giving managers the feedback they need to be effective and creating a way to measure success. Full Story: Human Resources Director (7/17)
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Final Nutrition Standards resource

July 12, 2024

SNA recently launched a specially designed resource page dedicated to walking you through the significant changes made to long-term school nutrition standards as announced in the April Final Rule released by USDA. The resource also provides you with an opportunity to share your questions and feedback on each section of the Rule. Learn more.
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Food allergies linked to gut microbiome differences

July 12, 2024

A study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that the gut microbiomes of children with food allergies differ significantly from those without, with fewer differences observed in younger children. Lead researcher Punita Ponda emphasized the importance of early food introduction and the potential role of pro- and prebiotics in managing food allergies, suggesting that younger children may benefit more from oral immunotherapy.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (7/10) 
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Md. district to source local foods for school meals

July 12, 2024

More healthful and locally sourced foods will appear in school meals in the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. Prompted by the results of a student survey, the changes will be explored during roundtables and taste- testing opportunities as part of a partnership with the Healthier Choices Coalition at Horizon Foundation.
Full Story: WJZ-TV (Baltimore) (7/11) 
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New podcast season available now

July 11, 2024

Season Two of SNA's podcast, "School Food for Thought," is out now! Currently, the first three episodes are available and three more will be released this week. Grab your headphones and listen as you get ready for our 2024 Annual National Conference (ANC24) in Boston. Tune in now -- and catch up on episodes you may have missed -- on SpotifyApple Podcasts or on the SNA website.
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Universal school meal benefits add up for Mich. students

July 11, 2024

Michigan students have made academic gains and experienced health benefits since a statewide universal school meal program was established for the 2023-24 school year, which also erased school lunch debt that rose sharply after federal pandemic waivers for universal school meals expired. The state's program "has been more popular than we ever imagined," said Diane Golzynski, deputy superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education. "We are truly investing in families and students."
Full Story: Second Wave (Mich.) (5/30) 
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USDA funding to be a primary topic at SNA conference

July 11, 2024

Attendees of the School Nutrition Association's Annual National Conference in Boston that begins July 14 will brainstorm the most productive ways to use the $26 million in grant funds that the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service plans to allocate. Best practices for meeting evolving standards will be one area of primary interest, along with equipment upgrades and a commitment to collaboration among the various entities involved in school food service.
Full Story: Total Food Service (7/5) 
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Unlock your potential with SNA's on-demand SNS exam prep course!

July 9, 2024

SNA's new On Demand Prep Course for the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Exam is available now in the SNA Training Zone. This course offers a flexible, online learning experience that will bring you the same top-notch training that SNA provides at our conferences while giving you the control to learn at your own pace, wherever and whenever is most convenient for you. No more rearranging your schedule to fit in-person or live trainings! Learn more.
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New podcast season available now

July 8, 2024

Season Two of SNA's podcast, "School Food for Thought," is out now! Currently, the first three episodes are available and three more will be released this week. Grab your headphones and listen as you get ready for our 2024 Annual National Conference (ANC24) in Boston. Tune in now -- and catch up on episodes you may have missed -- on SpotifyApple Podcasts or on the SNA website.
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Ind. district to pilot finger-scanning in cafeteria

July 8, 2024

Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation in Indiana is considering finger-scanning technology to speed up lunch lines and enhance efficiency. The system aims to ensure student privacy and reduce plastic waste from ID cards and will be piloted at an elementary school.
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Build your school nutrition team with SNA's Hiring Toolkit

July 5, 2024

School's out -- and that means it's time to focus on hiring for the upcoming year. Fill open positions with the help of SNA's "Bring More to the Table" Hiring Toolkit, which is full of resources to help recruit new job candidates. We know staff shortages are challenging, so we built this Hiring Toolkit with you in mind. Read more to access the resources you need to build an effective school nutrition team.
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Utah schools consider length of lunch period

July 4, 2024

Students in Utah schools say they often leave the lunchroom hungry because they have insufficient time to eat. Parents and education officials are raising concerns about the impact on students' health and learning and advocating for longer lunch periods.
Full Story: KUTV-TV (Salt Lake City) (6/28) 
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Have you checked out the SNA's Action Network?

July 3, 2024

Tap into SNA's Action Network -- a robust hub designed specifically for school nutrition advocacy. Take a look at some key resources offered on the Action Network:

·  Access key federal legislation impacting school nutrition programs;
·  Take action on federal campaigns to make sure your leaders in Congress know how they can aid your programs;
·  View key state legislation to see how other states around the country are working with their local leaders to improve school meal programs;
·  Look up your legislators and learn how to get in contact with them and their staff;
·  And much more.
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RD offers advice on preventing anemia

July 3, 2024

Registered dietitian Patrick Traynor says diet is a frequent cause of microcytic (iron deficiency) and macrocytic anemia (vitamin B12 or folate deficiency), which results in smaller or larger than normal red blood cell counts, respectively. Vitamin C can help convert nonheme iron from plants to the more soluble heme iron found in animal protein, Traynor says, and consuming a diverse, nutrient-dense diet and not overcooking foods can also help improve iron levels.
Full Story: The Tahoe Daily Tribune (Calif.) (6/30) 
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Del. lawmakers expand free school meals

July 3, 2024

Delaware's legislature unanimously approved a bill to provide free meals for students previously eligible for reduced-price meals. This change allows districts like Red Clay Consolidated School District to reallocate funds while planning for future free meals for all students.
Full Story: Delaware Public Media (7/2) 
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Bulk meal given to some families in Md. district

July 2, 2024

Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland are providing bulk meal distributions at select locations -- offering more than 3,000 meals weekly to help families during the summer. Parents living in more remote areas of the county can pick up a week's worth of breakfast and lunch for their students who usually eat at school.
 Full Story: WMAR-TV (Baltimore)
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US senators introduce bills to combat child hunger

July 2, 2024

Senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and John Fetterman, D-Pa., have introduced two bills to expand access to free and reduced-price meals for millions of students across the US.

·  The School Hunger Elimination Act expands NSLP and SBP direct certification for all school-age children receiving Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
·  The Nutrition Red Tape Reduction Act would permanently lower the threshold for schools to participate in community eligibility to 25% Identified Student Percentage (ISP), ensuring that thousands of schools are eligible to participate.
Stay tuned -- SNA will monitor the progress of these bills as they are discussed in the Senate. Don't forget to use SNA's Action Network to see what other bills have been introduced in Congress and learn how you can advocate for school nutrition programs.
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House appropriations panel cuts education budget

July 2, 2024

The US House appropriations subcommittee passed a bill reducing federal education spending by $11 billion, or 13%, targeting Title I and other programs. Democrats argue the cuts for the 2025 fiscal year will harm K-12 education, but the bill is likely to move toward the center as it progresses through Congress, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., says.
Full Story: K-12 Dive (6/27) 
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Clarity, validation can boost your team's well-being

June 26, 2024

Workplace changes, namely the rise of remote and hybrid working and declining employee well-being and engagement, require managers to be more people-oriented, communicative and flexible, says S. Chris Edmonds with The Purposeful Culture Group. Edmonds highlights two practices -- clarity and validation -- that leaders can model to boost well-being and engagement.
 Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (6/25)
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SNF Equipment Grant winners

June 27, 2024

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) recently announced the winners of its 2024 Equipment Grant Program. Nine school nutrition professionals are being awarded grants to benefit their school meal programs, with total grants worth more than $600,000 of equipment. Facing continued staffing and financial challenges, school nutrition professionals nationwide applied for SNF Equipment Grants in the 2023-24 school year. The 2024 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of AmTab, Winston Foodservice, ITW Food Equipment Group (Hobart Equipment and Vulcan Equipment), Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., LTI Inc., Cambro Manufacturing, Sterno Delivery and Innoseal Systems. Learn more.
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Clarity, validation can boost your team's well-being

June 26, 2024

Workplace changes, namely the rise of remote and hybrid working and declining employee well-being and engagement, require managers to be more people-oriented, communicative and flexible, says S. Chris Edmonds with The Purposeful Culture Group. Edmonds highlights two practices -- clarity and validation -- that leaders can model to boost well-being and engagement.
 Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (6/25) 
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LEAD to Succeed™ Training grant extension

June 26, 2024

We have big news! Thanks to a grant extension from USDA, SNA state affiliates and state agencies can request in-person or virtual LEAD to Succeed™ training through May 20, 2025. The School Nutrition Foundation's (SNF) LEAD to Succeed™ is a high-quality, turnkey training in communications and leadership developed specifically for school nutrition professionals. Review all the available LEAD to Succeed™ training options.
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Md. schools expand access to summer meals

June 26, 2024

Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland is expanding its summer meal program by adding two rural bulk pickup sites and offering onsite lunches at 16 locations. This expansion guarantees all children under 18 access to free meals, helping to ease financial burdens on families.
 Full Story: WYPR-FM (Baltimore) (6/24) 
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Report: MD schools serving thousands fewer meals post-COVID

June 26, 2024

The latest Maryland School Breakfast Report finds tens of thousands fewer kids are being served post COVID.
 
 The end of pandemic era waivers two years ago saw schools revert to tiered systems of free or reduced-price meals based on household income. In turn, despite a slightly larger student population, the 2022-23 school year saw the average number of breakfasts served in a day fall by nearly 39,000, and saw 65,000 fewer lunches served, compared with 2020-21. 
 
 LaMonika Jones, interim director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, said reducing the reach of school meals, especially breakfast, takes a toll in the classroom. 
 
 "It's challenging for a student at any age to sit in the classroom and focus on what the teacher is trying to share when they're hungry. I understand the argument that it takes away from instruction, but the distraction of being hungry also takes away from instructional time," Jones explained.
 
 The report shows the total number of breakfasts served in the state overall fell by more than 6.5 million in 2022 versus the year prior. 
 
 The report identifies barriers to school breakfast participation, including cost, time and the stigma associated with being on a free meal program. 
 
 Schools with at least 40% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals can opt-in to the state-funded Maryland Meals for Achievement program, which offers free breakfast to all students. While traditional school breakfasts are served in the cafeteria before class, Jones says MMFA is an alternative breakfast model that offers greater flexibility. 
 
 "Our students are able to either have 'grab and go' style, which works really well for our older students, or for our little ones, we're able to have breakfast in the classroom. And having those alternative models in place, as well as the funding to cover the cost of these alternative models, ensures that we're meeting that need," she continued. 
 
 This past year saw 588 schools participate in MMFA, up from 485 in 2019.
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Don't miss tomorrow's #ANC24 Attendee Webinar

June 25, 2024

Are you attending #ANC24 in a few weeks? Be sure to join us on Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m. ET for the #ANC24 Attendee Webinar. All registered attendees are highly encouraged to attend this preparatory webinar to have your conference questions answered before you arrive in Boston. If you can't make it, don't worry. The webinar will be recorded and sent to all attendees at a later date.
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New federal school nutrition standards add costs

June 25, 2024

The USDA's updated nutrition standards for schools, effective July 1, will cost districts an additional $206 million annually, according to the Congressional Research Service. These changes, focusing on reducing added sugars and sodium, lack dedicated federal funding but have some available resources.
 Full Story: K-12 Dive (6/24) 

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Build your school nutrition team with SNA's Hiring Toolkit

June 21, 2024

School's out -- and that means it's time to focus on hiring for the upcoming year. Fill open positions with the help of SNA's "Bring More to the Table" Hiring Toolkit, which is full of resources to help recruit new job candidates. We know staff shortages are challenging, so we built this Hiring Toolkit with you in mind. Access the resources you need to build an effective school nutrition team here.
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SN magazine: Inclusive eats -- Embracing special diets in the cafeteria

June 20, 2024

Embracing special diets will go a long way in making your cafeteria a safe and welcoming space where all students can get the healthy food they need to succeed, and School Nutrition's May/June issue includes all valuable insights on how you can make those accommodations in a school nutrition setting. Read the issue for an overview of religious diets, advice from experienced school nutrition professionals on how to manage special diets, a Q&A with a chef about "plant-forward" menus, a guide to important special diet definitions and vocabulary and more.
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Ore. school district to offer free daily meals

June 20, 2024

Starting next school year, Bend-La Pine Schools in Oregon will provide free breakfast and lunch to all students without requiring any forms or qualifications. This initiative aims to reduce financial stress for families and increase student meal participation across the district.
 Full Story: KTVZ-TV (Bend, Ore.) (6/18) 
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Eating spinach offers healthful benefits

June 18, 2024

Eating "one to two cups of fresh spinach or half a cup of cooked spinach per day, can provide substantial health benefits without significant risk," according to registered dietitian nutritionist Yaa Boakye. Providing vitamins A, C and K, folate, magnesium, manganese, fiber and antioxidants, spinach offers healthful benefits, and would be difficult to eat in excess due to the high fiber content, which is satiating, but those prone to kidney stones or on blood thinners should be mindful not to eat too much spinach, Boakye and RD Caroline Young say.
 Full Story: Parade (6/12) 
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Murthy: Social media labeling needed to protect teens

June 18, 2024

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he will advocate for warning labels on social media platforms to alert parents to their potential effects on teen mental health. Labeling would demonstrate that "social media has not been proved safe," Murthy wrote in a published essay. Such a decision would require congressional approval.
 Full Story: The New York Times (6/17)
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Say hello to your ANC24 closing keynote speaker

June 17, 2024

Unlocking your full potential may feel like embarking on a cosmic journey, but once you arrive, the long ascent is worth it. On Tuesday, July 16, attendees of SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24) will hear from our closing keynote, Jose Hernandez, a trailblazer who defied the odds to fulfill his dream of space exploration. Watch his official welcome video. Haven't registered for ANC24 yet? Register today and get ready to blast off!
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ANC 2024: Don't miss the "School Nutrition Event of the Year"

June 14, 2024

SNA's 2024 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston is just a month away. With 6,000+ enthusiastic school nutrition professionals, three jam-packed days of 125+ educational sessions, 900+ exhibit booths and exclusive networking events -- there's no doubt this is the place to be! Register today.

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Ill. school district delivers summer meals to families

June 13, 2024

The Sullivan Community Unit School District #300 in Illinois provides home-delivered breakfast and lunch meals to children under 18 throughout summer break. This program, started during the pandemic, now serves over 800 families, ensuring no child goes hungry when school is out.
 Full Story: WAND-TV (Decatur, Ill.) (6/13) 
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School systems strive to meet needs as budgets shrink

June 13, 2024

School systems face exceptionally difficult budget decisions as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds expire and state education funding directives fail to align with needs. The Flemington-Raritan Regional School District in New Jersey is an example as it weighs difficult decisions in the course of finding $5.1 million to cut from its $80 million budget.
 Full Story: Education Week (6/11) 
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RD says honeydew melon is nutritionally worthy

June 13, 2024

Honeydew melon is worthy of incorporating into your diet, says registered dietitian Miranda Galati, noting that this melon is provides potassium and fiber and is hydrating. "While honeydew contains naturally occurring sugars, most emerging research suggests its fiber and fluid content might lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes," Galati says, adding to look for a pale, creamy colored exterior when shopping for a honeydew melon since those with a greenish hue are not ripe yet.
 Full Story: USA Today (6/9) 
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Free breakfast to be served to all students in Idaho district

June 12, 2024

All students in the Boise School District in Idaho will be eligible for free breakfast in the upcoming school year, through a $2.1 million budget item that combines general funds from the district and USDA money. In addition, the district will also provide free breakfasts and lunches to students in 20 schools through the Community Eligibility Provision.
 Full Story: Boise State Public Radio (Idaho) (6/12) 
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2 Del. laws related to school meals advance

June 12, 2024

A measure in the Delaware Legislature that appropriates around $250,000 per year to provide free breakfasts and lunches to students who qualify for reduced-priced meals has passed in the House of Representatives and been forwarded to the Senate. In addition, the state Senate recently passed a bill that prohibits keeping students from participating in extracurricular activities because of meal debt that is awaiting the governor's signature.
 Full Story: Delaware Public Media (6/11) 

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Upcoming SNA webinar

June 11, 2024

Join "Unlocking the Power of Sorghum: A Sustainable Supergrain for School Meals," (June 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET) to discover the nutritional, sustainable and culinary benefits of sorghum. Learn from experts about its rich history, its growth in the United States and how this gluten-free, high-fiber and antioxidant-rich whole grain can enhance school meals. This webinar is supported by the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. Register here!
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Mandated days, hours of school attendance vary widely

June 11, 2024

The amount of class time students in the US receive varies widely from state to state, with states measuring their mandates in days ranging from 160 in Colorado to 186 in Kansas and those using educational hours as a gauge spanning from 720 in Arizona to 1,260 in Texas, according to a study in the American Education Research Journal. Prioritizing instructional time is essential no matter the number of days or hours of education mandated, says Emily Morton of the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
 Full Story: The 74 (6/10) 
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#ANC24 full session schedule released!

June 10, 2024

Exciting news! The full schedule for SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24) is now available! On our website, you can search for sessions by date, presentation type, room number, suggested audience or by typing in the search bar. View the full schedule to start planning your session line-up. Not registered yet? Let's take care of that. Save your seat at the "School Nutrition Event of the Year" here!
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School nutrition opportunities await in the SNA Career Center

June 7, 2024

Find the perfect employee match! The SNA Career Center is more than just a job search platform -- it's a gateway to unlocking your full potential within the dynamic field of school nutrition. Take your first step: Visit the Career Center today and embark on a journey that will shape your professional path while positively impacting the lives of children.
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Ouch, that stings! The benefits of negative feedback

June 7, 2024

Receiving negative feedback as a leader can be challenging, but reframing feedback as opportunities for growth can remove the emotional response, leadership coach Bill Pullen writes. Leaders who show a healthy response to feedback also model how other workers in the organization should respond when they receive feedback that has a sting.
 Full Story: Cultivating Leadership blog (6/5) 

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Ky. district distributes summer meals via drive-through

June 7, 2024

Drive-through meal distribution in Kentucky's Lyon County School District aims to feed nearly 1,000 students until the end of July, addressing food insecurity in the region, where more than 10,000 children face hunger. Superintendent Russell Tilford emphasizes the program's extension of free lunch offerings to combat food insecurity during the summer, with packages containing both perishable and nonperishable items.
 Full Story: WPSD-TV (Paducah, Ky.) (6/6) 

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Ohio district has waiting list for produce boxes

June 7. 2024

Lima City Schools in Ohio, in collaboration with the Children's Hunger Alliance, distributes fresh produce boxes every Thursday to families as part of their summer lunch program, addressing nutritional needs during the summer break. The initiative has garnered success, and there is a waiting list for the produce boxes.
 Full Story: WLIO-TV/WOHL-CD (Lima, Ohio) (6/6) 


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N.Y. invests in expansion of farm-to-school program

June 7, 2024

New York State is offering $1.5 million in grants for its Farm-to-School program, aiming to increase the use of locally grown food in K-12 school menus. Eligible applicants can apply for grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 -- with a portion reserved for first-time awardees -- to enhance nutrition for students while supporting local farmers.
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Find menu inspiration in SNA's Recipe Library!

June 6, 2024

Hungry for delicious recipe ideas? Visit SNA's Recipe Library to find tons of K-12 recipes to help you keep your menus fresh, whether you're testing a new cuisine or catering for a special diet. And, if you have a great recipe you would like to share, learn how to submit it here and become a part of this growing resource.


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SN Plus: Bring Farm Stands and Markets to Your Students

June 5, 2024

In the latest SN Plus, "Stand" and Deliver, two school nutrition directors share the details of their innovative school farmers market and produce stand programs, designed to expose children to healthy fresh foods and expand their understanding of where food comes from and why supporting local producers is important for the community. Use their stories to inspire you! How could you implement these ideas at your own school? School Nutrition thanks Bridgford Foods for its generous support in making this article available.


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Veggie-rich diet may improve glucose tolerance

June 5, 2024

A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that consuming a diet rich in green, leafy, cruciferous and colorful vegetables may improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, while high intake of potato fries or chips may have adverse effects on these markers. The findings highlight the differential impact of vegetable subgroups on metabolic health.
 Full Story: Medscape (6/3)
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Summer peaches offer bountiful nutrients

June 4, 2024

Farmers are predicting a bumper peach season and registered dietitian Miranda Galati says the fruit is a good source of fiber, polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamins A and C, and hydrating fluid. As with most fruits, Galati suggests pairing peaches with a healthful protein or fat to increase satiety and nutrition, saying "fruit sometimes contains fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, D, E and K, which are better absorbed when eaten with a fat source."
 Full Story: USA Today (6/2) 


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Upcoming SNA webinars

June 4, 2024

Stay up to date, grow your knowledge and develop new skills with these upcoming SNA webinars.
 
June 20 @ 3:00 p.m. ET: Join us for the webinar, "Unlocking the Power of Sorghum: A Sustainable Supergrain for School Meals," to discover the nutritional, sustainable and culinary benefits of sorghum. This webinar is supported by the United Sorghum Checkoff Program

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N.Y. governor looks to restrict smartphones in schools

June 4, 2024

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has stated that smartphones should not be available to students at school, saying their presence is detrimental to students' mental health and growth. Hochul and other state officials have expressed concerns about the effects of social media on students' well being, and Hochul plans to work with teachers, parents and other stakeholders about potential legislation that would limit access to smartphones during the school day, a spokesperson said.
 Full Story: Chalkbeat/New York (5/30) 

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Balance is key to good family nutrition, RD says

June 3, 2024

To ensure a nutritious diet for everyone in the family, including picky eaters, registered dietitian Christina Klapper encourages meals that balance protein, carbohydrates, and non-starchy vegetables and fruits and offers ideas for a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner. Klapper includes protein-rich options since she says, "We definitely need protein at every meal, and I always recommend between 20 to 30 grams minimum."
 Full Story: WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth) (5/30) 
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Meet your #ANC24 Opening Keynote Speaker

June 3, 2024

SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24) Opening General Session Speaker, Chef Andrew Zimmern, can't wait to meet attendees in Boston! In his keynote address on Sunday, July 14, he will offer an inspiring perspective of hope, perseverance and leadership through the lens of his own trials and triumphs. Watch his official welcome video and don't miss #ANC24. Register now!

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Latin American Cuisine Summit Series: Part 1 with chef Rick Martinez

May 31, 2024

Latin American Cuisine Summit Series: Part 1 with chef Rick Martinez
 Join the Culinary Institute of America for its first installation of the virtual Latin American Cuisine Summit Series, where chef Rick Martinez demonstrates how he makes chiles anchos rellenos de queso. Gain in-depth knowledge and explore traditional techniques. REGISTER TODAY >>

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Universal school meal benefits add up for Mich. students

May 31, 2024

Michigan students have made academic gains and experienced health benefits since a statewide universal school meal program was established for the 2023-24 school year, which also erased school lunch debt that rose sharply after federal pandemic waivers for universal school meals expired. The state's program "has been more popular than we ever imagined," said Diane Golzynski, deputy superintendent of the Michigan Department of Education. "We are truly investing in families and students."
 Full Story: Second Wave (Mich.) (5/30) 
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Early peanut consumption may prevent allergy later on

May 30, 2024

Feeding children peanuts regularly from infancy to age 5 years has been shown to reduce the rate of peanut allergy in adolescence, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The follow-up study demonstrated sustained benefits of early peanut consumption, with only 4.4% of early peanut consumers developing allergies by age 13 compared with 15.4% of those who avoided peanuts.
 Full Story: The Hill (5/28) 
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Groups in Wis. advocate for universal school meals Groups in Wis. advocate for universal school meals

May 29. 2024

Community groups in Madison, Wis., are raising funds to pay off student lunch debts and advocating for the Madison Metropolitan School District to provide free meals for all students. The groups' campaign aims to raise $235,000 to clear current meal debts and increase the district's Food and Nutrition Budget by $2 million for the 2024-2025 budget, seeking additional federal funding to sustain the initiative.
 Full Story: Spectrum News/Wisconsin (5/28)


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Unlock your potential with SNA's on-demand SNS exam prep course!

May 24, 2024

We're pleased to introduce SNA's new On Demand Prep Course for the School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Exam, available now in the SNA Training Zone. This course offers a flexible, online learning experience that will bring you the same top-notch training that SNA provides at our conferences while giving you the control to learn at your own pace, wherever and whenever is most convenient for you. No more rearranging your schedule to fit in-person or live trainings! Learn more.
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Spring issue of JCN&M: Now available!

May 24, 2024

The Spring 2024 edition of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management (JCN&M), SNA's peer-reviewed academic publication, is available on SNA's website! In this issue, you'll find one research brief, three research-in-action articles and a summary of ongoing and completed research in the FNS Research Corner. Interested in contributing? The Journal is now seeking submissions for the Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 issues on a variety of child nutrition topics, including nutrition standards and education, administration, food safety, marketing and more. Review the contribution guidelines here.
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Delaware House consider free meals for students

May 24, 2024

Rep. Sherae'a Moore, driven by her concern for student meal debt, introduced House Bill 125 to provide free breakfast and lunch for all Delaware public school students, though it initially stalled due to its $30 million price tag. The bill has been revised to offer free meals only to those qualifying for reduced-price programs, projected to cost around $250,000 annually, and has now gained unanimous approval from the House Appropriations Committee.
 Full Story: Delaware News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) (5/23) 
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SN magazine: Embracing special diets in the cafeteria

May 22, 2024

In the May/June issue of School Nutrition (SN) magazine, we're taking a close look at how you can make your cafeteria a safer, healthier, more comfortable, more welcoming place for those young people who follow a special diet. Log into your SNA account to take a look at the coverage.
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USDA: Fully cooking meat would kill avian flu virus

May 21, 2024

While no evidence of avian flu has been found in the US beef supply, the USDA says that fully cooking meat to the standard recommended 160 degree internal temperature for hamburger would effectively kill the virus if it were present. The USDA has issued alerts about dairy cattle infected with the avian flu virus and reiterated its long-standing warning to consumers not to drink raw milk.
 Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (5/16) 
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Draft of Farm Bill would allow whole milk in schools

May 21, 2024

The House of Representatives Agriculture Committee has released the first draft of the new Farm Bill, which includes increasing the cap for Tier 1 producers to 6 million pounds from 5 million. Another change would allow schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to again offer whole milk; existing USDA rules call for only fat-free or low-fat milk.
 Full Story: American Agriculturist (5/17) 
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Md. school district adapts to USDA meal standards

May 20, 2024

Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland is gearing up to implement new USDA meal standards, including added sugar limits and sodium reductions, to be fully enforced by the 2027-28 academic year. Changes will gradually roll out over the next several years, aligning with national health guidelines for school nutrition.
 Full Story: The Frederick News-Post (Md.) (5/17) 
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#ANC24: Get ready to rock at the Closing Event!

May 17, 2024

Experience the ultimate superstar collaboration at #ANC24! Get ready for SNA's 2024 Annual National Conference (#ANC24) Closing Event -- an Ezra Ray Hart concert -- the supergroup featuring Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and Emerson Hart of Tonic! Find your spot in the crowd on Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. at #ANC24 in Boston. If you haven't registered for #ANC24 yet, don't delay, register here.
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Colo. reports funding challenges for free school meals

May 17, 2024

The Healthy School Meals for All program in Colorado offers free meals to public-school students in the state, but is facing funding shortages due to higher than expected participation. State legislators have passed a law to cover the funding gap for the current and next school years.
 Full Story: KKTV-TV (Colorado Springs) (5/16) 
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Find menu inspiration in SNA's Recipe Library!

May 16, 2024

Hungry for delicious recipe ideas? Visit SNA's Recipe Library to find tons of K-12 recipes to help you keep your menus fresh, whether you're testing a new cuisine or catering for a special diet. And, if you have a great recipe you would like to share, learn how to submit it here and become a part of this growing resource.
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Blood test shows promise for children with peanut allergies

May 14, 2024

A study published in Allergy found that changes in antibody levels over time can predict which children are likely to outgrow their peanut allergy, adding that decreasing sIgG4 and sIgE levels in blood was associated with peanut allergy resolution by the age of 10. Findings were based on 156 infants with challenge-confirmed peanut allergy.
 Full Story: HealthDay News (5/13) 
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Celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month with SNA!

May 14, 2024

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage (AANHPI) Month! This month SNA recognizes and celebrates the achievements and contributions that Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage have made in our school nutrition community and throughout US history. Learn more about this important observance, and how you can bring AANHPI Month to your menus, too.
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SN magazine: Inclusive eats -- Embracing special diets in the cafeteria

May 13, 2024

Embracing special diets will go a long way in making your cafeteria a safe and welcoming space where all students can get the healthy food they need to succeed, and School Nutrition's May/June issue includes all valuable insights on how you can make those accommodations in a school nutrition setting. Read the issue for an overview of religious diets, advice from experienced school nutrition professionals on how to manage special diets, a Q&A with a chef about "plant-forward" menus, a guide to important special diet definitions and vocabulary and more.
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Maine schools introduce halal meal options

May 13, 2024

Several schools in southern Maine have introduced halal meal options to cater to Muslim students' dietary needs, aiming to ensure all students have access to nutritious meals during the school day. With meat sourced, stored and prepared separately, these initiatives represent a broader effort to promote inclusivity and address concerns about food access among students from diverse backgrounds.
 Full Story: Maine Public (5/10) 
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Beware meaningless food marketing claims, RDs say

May 10, 2024

Watch out for marketing claims on food packaging that really have no meaning, for instance "no cholesterol" on a plant-based product that would never have cholesterol or "uncured" on naturally cured processed meats, experts say. "Uncured meats aren't better for you," says registered dietitian Amy Keating, "because synthetic and natural nitrates and nitrites have the same effects on the body."
 Full Story: The Washington Post/Consumer Reports (5/6) 
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Califf: Bird flu poses low risk to public health

May 10, 2024

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that the current bird flu strain circulating in the US poses a low risk to public health, but the FDA and other agencies are preparing to scale up medical countermeasures in case the H5N1 virus jumps to humans on a larger level. Califf said there's a possibility that the virus could jump to people and cause lung infections, but the FDA can scale up vaccine manufacturing if necessary, and the existing mRNA platforms can be used to target new strains.
 Full Story: The Hill (5/8) 
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#ANC24: Add a pre-conference workshop!

May 2, 2024

Extend your learning and enhance your Annual National Conference (#ANC24) experience when you add a Pre-Conference Workshop to your registration today! See a full description of each workshop and include it with your conference registration. All pre-cons are on Saturday, July 13.
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Federal school nutrition standards signal healthier options

May 2, 2024

Dieticians for Montana's Bozeman School District 7 anticipate positive changes in children's nutrition as new federal nutrition standards mandate reduced sodium and added sugars in school meals, set to take effect between 2025 and 2027. Emphasizing scratch cooking and local produce, the district aims to meet the new requirements while ensuring nutritious options for students.
 Full Story: Bozeman Daily Chronicle (Mont.) (5/1) 


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Free school meals in Ore. boost student behavior

May 2, 2024

Oregon schools adopting free meals for all students via federal funding report higher meal participation and fewer disciplinary actions, as the approach eliminates stigma associated with free lunches. Researchers note improved student behavior and hope to expand programs to more schools.
 Full Story: KGW-TV (Portland, Ore.) (4/30) 
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School Lunch Hero Day lauds nutrition pros' dedication

May 2, 2024

School Lunch Hero Day, celebrated the first Friday in May, honors the dedication of school nutrition staff members nationwide, who adhere to strict standards and cater to student allergies, ensuring every child gets nourished. In Washington state, school nutrition professionals greet students with smiles, serve millions of meals yearly and innovate with local produce, shared school nutrition directors in the state.
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Rule to address salmonella in frozen, raw chicken products

May 1, 2024

Starting next year, the USDA will begin testing chicken used in stuffed and breaded frozen chicken products to help protect against salmonella contamination, according to a new final rule issued last week. The agency said these products continue to be linked to salmonella outbreaks, perhaps because consumers do not understand that the chicken is raw and must be fully cooked.
 Full Story: HealthDay News (4/28) 
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Pa. lawmakers seek flexibility on school milk rules

May 1, 2024

The Pennsylvania House committee has endorsed a bill allowing local schools to serve whole milk, bypassing federal regulations, as part of a broader initiative to support local dairy farmers and offer healthier beverage options to students. Despite federal restrictions favoring low-fat options, lawmakers are pushing for legislative changes to reintroduce whole milk in school cafeterias.
 Full Story: Lancaster Farming (Pa.) (4/30) 
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Final USDA school meal guidelines embrace local fare

May 1, 2024

The USDA's recent changes to school meal standards prioritize locally sourced foods, simplifying procurement and supporting regional farmers, as part of a broader initiative to strengthen farm-to-school connections. This shift aligns with ongoing efforts to promote nutrition security and bolster regional markets.
 Full Story: Civil Eats (4/30) 
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Final USDA school meal guidelines embrace local fare

May 1, 2024

The USDA's recent changes to school meal standards prioritize locally sourced foods, simplifying procurement and supporting regional farmers, as part of a broader initiative to strengthen farm-to-school connections. This shift aligns with ongoing efforts to promote nutrition security and bolster regional markets.
 Full Story: Civil Eats (4/30) 
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Maine schools embrace plant-based menus

April 30, 2024

Maine's Department of Education is launching a training session focusing on vegan and vegetarian meal preparation for school cafeterias, catering to the rising demand for plant-based options among younger students. Culinary workshop attendees from various districts are looking to incorporate more inclusive and innovative menu choices.
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Opinion: BMI is obsolete as a health measure

April 30, 2024

Body mass index is an outdated and flawed measure of health that contributes to care bias and does not meet the needs of modern medicine, writes Gretchen Zimmermann of Vida Health. "It's time we move beyond BMI and adopt a holistic approach to truly gauge health," Zimmermann says, noting that successful care and treatment require a personalized, interdisciplinary approach.
 Full Story: MedCity News (4/26) 
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USDA: Flavored milk can remain on school lunch menus

April 30, 2024

The USDA will allow flavored milk like chocolate milk to remain part of the school lunch menu as long as it meets the new reduced sugar regulations, which take effect in fall 2025. Originally, the USDA had opposed flavored milk, but the department agreed to allow the beverage after securing assurances from milk manufacturers that the flavored milk offered would meet the new sugar limitations.
 Full Story: CBS News (4/24),  STAT (4/24) 
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Build your school nutrition team with help from SNA's Hiring Toolkit

April 26, 2024

Need help finding qualified candidates? Fill open positions with the help of SNA's free "Bring More to the Table" Hiring Toolkit, which is full of resources to help recruit new job candidates. Start recruiting today! Access the resources you need here to build an effective school nutrition team.
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FDA finds bird flu virus particles in pasteurized milk

April 26, 2024

The FDA reported that remnants of the bird flu virus were found in some pasteurized milk samples, but it said the products are still safe for human consumption because pasteurization is likely to neutralize heat-sensitive viruses such as H5N1. "To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe," the agency said. The FDA is also evaluating any positive findings through egg inoculation tests, and results from multiple studies are expected to be released in the near future.
 Full Story: Reuters (4/23),  The Associated Press (4/24) 
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Alaska schools receive grant to serve local foods

April 26, 2024

The Petersburg School District in Alaska is receiving national recognition for integrating traditional, locally-sourced foods into its menus, with a $100,000 USDA grant supporting the effort. Students enjoy dishes like herring eggs and moose, and school nutrition professionals work hard to create original recipes from scratch.
 Full Story: KFSK-FM (Petersburg, Alaska) (4/25) 
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USDA issues final school meal nutrition standards

April 24, 2024

The USDA has issued the final rule limiting the amount of added sugar allowed in products like cereal, yogurt and flavored milk served in school meals beginning in fall 2025, and reducing sodium by 15% beginning in fall 2027. Chris Derico, president of the School Nutrition Association, applauded the rule, calling it "more attainable, long-term nutrition goals that acknowledge the tremendous challenges schools face when working to adjust menus and gain student acceptance of healthier meals."
 Full Story: Education Week (4/24),  The Associated Press (4/24),  The Hill (4/24),  The New York Times (4/25) 
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Don't miss #ANC24!

April 22, 2024

Registration for SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24) is open! Join us from July 14 to 16 in Boston, Mass., for the school nutrition event of the year! This year's theme, "Shaping Tomorrow Together," reflects our collective commitment to shaping a better future for school nutrition. Learn more about #ANC24 and register today.
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Study shows school lunches' nutritional impact

April 19, 2024

A recent University of Georgia study reveals that school-prepared lunches significantly improve the diets of students -- particularly benefiting low-income and non-Hispanic Black students by increasing whole grain consumption and reducing saturated fat intake. Findings advocate for broader access to healthy, free meals for all students, urging federal government action.
 Full Story: WUGA-FM (Athens, Ga.) 
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Calif. universal school meal program must be maintained

April 17, 2024

Facing a budget shortfall, legislators are considering adding back in requirements to receive free meals at schools, although the state launched the School Meals for All program in 2021. "There is simply no way to impose bureaucratic school meal paperwork requirements on parents that verify their income that won't also result in denying the absolute neediest, the absolute hungriest children the food they need when they need it the most -- when they are growing up," writes Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Institute.
 Full Story: The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model)

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SN magazine: Unleashing culinary creativity in school cafeterias

April 17, 2024

When it comes to planning a menu, the last thing you ever want to do is let it get boring! Open up this year's annual Special Food Edition for all kinds of inspiration for preparing the best, tastiest, healthiest and most interesting options for the kids who come through your lunch lines every day. Log into your SNA account today and start reading the March/April edition of SN magazine.

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Survey: Only 2% of nutrition info on TikTok is accurate

April 15, 2024

A survey of 2,000 people and over 67,000 TikTok nutrition videos by Dublin City University in partnership with the MyFitnessPal platform showed only 2% offered accurate nutrition information that aligns with public health guidelines, while 57% of those surveyed say they are influenced or follow nutrition advice from these videos. Katie Keil of MyFitnessPal says, "The best thing we as consumers of social media can do is improve our digital health literacy -- and that starts with following credible experts and verifying what you hear against science."
 Full Story: Delish 
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Iowa district considers online store to pay off meal debt

April 15, 2024

The Urbandale Community School District in Iowa is considering launching an online apparel store with 15% of sales intended to help clear students' lunch debt -- aiming to tackle a balance of over $19,000. If approved, the initiative would offer a new way for supporters to contribute to the district's Food Service Angel Fund, supplementing annual donations of around $5,000.
 Full Story: The Des Moines Register (Iowa) (tiered subscription model)
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Advocates push for longer school lunchtimes in Colo.

April 15, 2024

Colorado students and advocates are rallying behind a bill proposing a "time-to-eat" task force to address concerns about the length of lunch periods, citing issues like rushed meals, wasted food and hungry students. The proposed task force would evaluate lunchtime policies in schools and make recommendations for longer periods to allow for healthier eating and improved academic performance.
 Full Story: Chalkbeat/Colorado
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Research points to benefits of universal school meals

April 15, 2024

Research suggests that providing free school meals to all students regardless of income level supports student well-being and academic performance as well as fosters a positive school climate by reducing stigma and improving social experiences. As students advocate for universal meal service, evidence points to the significant benefits of such policies in promoting equity and nurturing healthier, more inclusive learning environments.
 Full Story: Educ
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Tenn. lawmakers seek whole milk option in schools

April 11, 2024

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill allowing whole milk to be served separately from federally funded lunch lines, aiming to offer students another dairy option. Although the move could set up a clash with USDA regulations, proponents argue it is a step toward providing children with more appealing and nutritious milk choices.
 Full Story: Lancaster Farming (Pa.)
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Unlock SNA's Conference Video Series

April 9, 2024

Jumpstart your professional development this year with SNA's Conference Video Series! Get the best of the Association's conferences on demand with 10 insightful sessions led by esteemed school nutrition professionals who share their expertise and knowledge on a variety of topics. Learn more.
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Deadline approaching: SNF professional development scholarships!

April 8, 2024

Don't miss the application period for the 2024 School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Professional Development Scholarships. This year, SNF is offering multiple scholarship opportunities thanks to the support of our generous sponsors. Visit the SNF Scholarships page for details on eligibility and to access the applications for each award. The deadline to apply is April 26.
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#ANC24 registration is open!

April 6, 2024

Registration for SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24) is open! Join us from July 14-16 in Boston, Massachusetts, for the school nutrition event of the year! This year's theme, "Shaping Tomorrow Together," reflects our collective commitment to shaping a better future for school nutrition. Learn more about #ANC24 and register today.
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Take Action: New unpaid school meal debt bill

April 4, 2024

US Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced the National Advisory Council on Unpaid School Meal Debt Act, establishing an unpaid school meal debt commission that would play a pivotal role in policy recommendations to address this critical issue. The Council would be composed of 14 members, including foodservice directors and employees. Take action now to urge your legislators to cosponsor H.R.7639 and begin essential measures to support school meal programs and the students who rely on them.

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USDA set to introduce final school meal standards

April 4, 2024

Students may soon see healthier school meals as the USDA proposes revisions to limit added sugars and decrease sodium levels -- aligning with dietary guidelines to reduce diet-related diseases. The USDA intends to implement the final version of school nutrition standards later this month.
 Full Story: KUNM-FM (Albuquerque, N.M.)
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#SLHD24: Help students celebrate their school lunch heroes!

April 3, 2024

It's almost time to celebrate School Lunch Hero Day (#SLHD24) on May 3. As you're planning to commemorate the occasion, don't forget to involve students in the festivities with exciting activities like coloring pages, printable greeting cards, comic book panels and more!
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SN Plus: Building Good Fences

April 2, 2024

Setting boundaries can be a challenging task, but it's one that's important to master if you want your relationships to stay healthy and positive, instead of weighing you down. That's what "Building Good Fences," a new SN Plus article, is all about. You'll find definitions of different boundary types, examples of common barriers and advice on how to overcome those barriers, so you can start identifying and putting your own boundaries into place. School Nutrition thanks Hershey Salty Snacks Sales Company for its generous support in making this article available.
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Bonus podcast episode

April 1, 2024

This engaging discussion between two accomplished leaders is a must-listen for anyone interested in the field of school nutrition. In this "School Food for Thought" bonus podcast episode, Patricia Montague, the CEO of the School Nutrition Association (SNA), engages in a captivating conversation with Lori Adkins, the SNA 2022-23 President, during the Association's 2023 Annual National Conference held in Denver. Start listening today on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or on the SNA website.
 

This engaging discussion between two accomplished leaders is a must-listen for anyone interested in the field of school nutrition. In this "School Food for Thought" bonus podcast episode, Patricia Montague, the CEO of the School Nutrition Association (SNA), engages in a captivating conversation with Lori Adkins, the SNA 2022-23 President, during the Association's 2023 Annual National Conference held in Denver. Start listening today on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or on the SNA website.
 
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SNA's Food Allergy Resource Center

March 28, 2024

Did you know that an estimated 13% of school-aged children in the US have one or more food allergies? Find the answers to common food allergy questions and much more on SNA's Food Allergy Resource Center, brought to you by the National Peanut Board. Learn more.
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Hot off the presses! #NSLW24 and #NSBW25 themes are here!

March 27, 2024

We are pleased to announce the official themes of the 2024 National School Lunch Week (#NSLW24) and the 2025 National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW25) -- check them out here. We hope the themes spark great ideas and excitement within your programs! Learn more.
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USDA set to establish school meal reforms

April 27, 2024

The USDA has introduced its plans to limit added sugar and enhance nutrition in school meals, with proposed changes including reduced sodium and flavored milk restrictions. Some Washington state districts, like Port Townsend, have already adopted these guidelines, integrating fresh produce from student-tended gardens into their menus.
Full Story: KING-TV (Seattle)
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Take action: New unpaid school meal debt bill

March 26, 2024

US Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced the National Advisory Council on Unpaid School Meal Debt Act, establishing an unpaid school meal debt commission that would play a pivotal role in policy recommendations to address this critical issue. The Council would be composed of 14 members, including foodservice directors and employees. Take action now to urge your legislators to cosponsor H.R.7639 and begin essential measures to support school meal programs and the students who rely on them.
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Report: Universal school meals boost student participation

March 26, 2024

Several states have passed permanent universal school meal programs after Congress allowed the temporary nationwide policy to expire, leading to increased student participation in meal programs, according to a report by the Food Research & Action Center. However, the report also highlights a decline in student meal participation nationwide between the 2021-'22 and 2022-'23 school years, signaling the negative impact of most other states reverting to pre-pandemic meal policies.
 Full Story: K-12 Dive 
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Find menu inspiration in SNA's Recipe Library!

March 22, 2024

Hungry for delicious recipe ideas? Visit SNA's Recipe Library to find tons of K-12 recipes to help you keep your menus fresh, whether you're testing a new cuisine or catering for a special diet. And, if you have a great recipe you would like to share, learn how to submit it here and become a part of this growing resource.
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Upgrade your school kitchen with SNF Equipment Grants

March 20, 2024

Applications for School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Equipment Grants are now open! Thanks to our generous industry sponsors, the total value of equipment grants being awarded this year to selected SNA members is over half a million dollars. SNF Equipment Grants offer an opportunity for your school or school district to be awarded new kitchen equipment, cafeteria furniture or decor for a total upgrade of your school's current kitchen or dining areas. Find details and eligibility requirements here. The deadline to apply for all equipment grants is March 29.
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Take action: New unpaid school meal debt bill

March 18, 2024

US Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced the National Advisory Council on Unpaid School Meal Debt Act, establishing an unpaid school meal debt commission that would play a pivotal role in policy recommendations to address this critical issue. The Council would be composed of 14 members, including foodservice directors and employees. Take action now to urge your legislators to cosponsor H.R.7639 and begin essential measures to support school meal programs and the students who rely on them.
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Deadline approaching: Apply for an SNF Equipment Grant!

March 15, 2024

Applications for School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Equipment Grants are now open! Thanks to our generous industry sponsors, the total value of equipment grants being awarded this year to selected SNA members is over half a million dollars. SNF Equipment Grants offer an opportunity for your school or school district to be awarded new kitchen equipment, cafeteria furniture or decor for a total upgrade of your school's current kitchen or dining areas. Learn more and apply now! The deadline is March 29.
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Advocates back universal school meals in R.I.

March 15, 2024

Despite pushback from the governor's administration due to budget concerns, the Healthy School Meals for All Coalition continues to advocate for legislation providing free meals to all Rhode Island public school students. Proponents stress the importance of universal meals in addressing food insecurity, improving attendance, mental health and test scores and combating stigma associated with free and reduced-price meals.
 Full Story: The Providence Journal (R.I.) 
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School nutrition pros advocate for meal programs at LAC

March 15, 2024

During the School Nutrition Association's annual Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., nearly 850 school nutrition professionals urged Congress for increased funds and the maintenance of USDA nutrition standards, aiming to ensure all students nationwide have access to free, healthy school meals. Emphasizing the vital role of school meal programs in teaching healthy habits, school nutrition professionals highlighted the importance of federal support to provide nutritious meals for students.
 Full Story: The Glendale Star (Ariz.)
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Access to free school meals grows in Ariz.

March 14, 2024

With the USDA's expanded Community Eligibility Provision, students at qualifying schools nationwide, including over 30 in Mesa, Ariz., now receive free hot meals, easing financial burdens for families and ensuring students' nutritional needs are met to aid in classroom focus. The provision's lowered poverty threshold to 25% has increased accessibility, benefiting over 3,000 schools across the country and offering relief to families on the brink of eligibility.
Full Story: KOLD-TV/KMSB-TV/KTTV-TV (Tucson, Ariz.)
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Secretary Vilsack, USDA officials address #LAC24

March 13, 2024

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed SNA's Legislative Action Conference (#LAC24) attendees on March 4 and personally met with SNA's Executive Committee. He was accompanied by numerous USDA officials who provided an update on child nutrition program regulations and participated in meetings during the conference. Sec. Vilsack thanked attendees and school nutrition professionals nationwide for the significantly important work they do, noting that it's not possible to educate a child who is hungry. Learn more and view slides from the USDA update here.
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Del. mulls universal school meals, proposes alternative

March 12, 2024

Legislation being considered in Delaware, aiming to provide free school meals to all students, faces scrutiny over its $40 million annual cost. A proposed alternative bill suggests means-testing to cover meal costs for students with family incomes between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty threshold, which would reduce the cost to about $300,000 annually.
 Full Story: Delaware Public Media
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School Nutrition magazine: Read the March/April 2024 issue

March 12, 2024

When working in school nutrition, food is always going to be on your mind, whether you're planning a menu, searching for new recipes, pondering how to introduce new products or ingredients or otherwise brainstorming how to keep your student customers engaged and excited about school meals. That's why, in this year's Special Food Edition, we're focusing on new ideas that will inspire you to keep up with the creativity and innovation you all bring to this field and to your menus. Read the current issue.
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Download printable "Made with School Lunch" posters

March 8, 2024

America is Made with School Lunch. To help you promote the incredible benefits and value of school meals, SNA and the National Dairy Council (NDC) partnered for a new educational awareness campaign with plenty of resources and tools, including a video that debuted to acclaim at SNA's 2023 Annual National Conference. Don't miss the five NEW downloadable posters available in both English and Spanish, ready to be printed and displayed in your cafeteria. Print the new 8.5x11-inch versions yourself or take the 18x24-inch posters to a local print shop and then use them all over your school and cafeteria! Learn more.
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Baltimore Ravens' Poe celebrates School Breakfast Week

March 8, 2024

In celebration of National School Breakfast Week, Baltimore Ravens mascot Poe surprised fourth-grade students at Baltimore City Public Schools' Belmont Elementary School, emphasizing the importance of a nutritious breakfast. The Ravens partnered with the American Dairy Association to support the district's free breakfast program, aiding Maryland schools like Belmont -- where 65% of students participate -- and highlighting the crucial role proper nutrition plays in academic success.
Full Story: WBAL-TV (Baltimore)
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SN Plus: From "Help Wanted" to "Talent Found"

March 7, 2024

When it comes to filling vacant positions, it's important to explore all avenues for recruiting new talented members for your team. There's one highly effective recruitment method you may not have used to its full potential: social media. From "Help Wanted" to "Talent Found", a new SN Plus article, includes a guide on how to develop a successful social media recruitment campaign for your school nutrition program, as well as examples of real "We're Hiring" posts from other programs' social media campaigns to inspire you. School Nutrition thanks Conagra Foodservice for its generous support in making this article available.
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Budget Challenges in Colorado

March 1, 2024

A surge in K-12 students accessing universal meals in Colorado, a result of the 2022 voter-approved Proposition FF, is facing financial strains as the program promised not only free meals to all students but additional initiatives, leading to potential shortfalls of up to $49 million. With high-income tax revenues falling slightly short of projections, lawmakers in Colorado's Joint Budget Committee are grappling with funding decisions, potentially postponing programs like purchasing local food, raising wages and reducing reliance on processed products.
 Full Story: KUSA-TV (Denver) (2/29) 
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Apply for an SNF Equipment Grant!

February 28, 2024

Applications for School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Equipment Grants are now open! Thanks to our generous industry sponsors, the total value of equipment grants being awarded this year to selected SNA members is over half a million dollars. SNF Equipment Grants offer an opportunity for your school or school district to be awarded new kitchen equipment, cafeteria furniture or decor for a total upgrade of your school's current kitchen or dining areas. Learn more and apply now! The deadline is March 29.


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More #NSBW resources have come ashore!

February 24, 2024

Catch the wave! National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW24) is almost here -- March 4 to 8. Additional resources have recently dropped, including a Social Media Toolkit and an Activity Guide & Coloring Sheets. Dive into SNA's #NSBW24 resources for an unforgettable celebration of the power of a nutritious breakfast!
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Budget Challenges in Colorado

March 1, 2024

A surge in K-12 students accessing universal meals in Colorado, a result of the 2022 voter-approved Proposition FF, is facing financial strains as the program promised not only free meals to all students but additional initiatives, leading to potential shortfalls of up to $49 million. With high-income tax revenues falling slightly short of projections, lawmakers in Colorado's Joint Budget Committee are grappling with funding decisions, potentially postponing programs like purchasing local food, raising wages and reducing reliance on processed products.
 Full Story: KUSA-TV (Denver) 

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Md. considers legislation on universal school meals

February 28, 2024

Maryland lawmakers are considering legislation aiming to offer free breakfast and lunch to all public school students starting in the 2025-'24 school year. The bill, requiring $180 million annually, highlights the need to address hunger and support student success, though funding sources remain uncertain in a challenging budget year.
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Iowa lawmaker proposes universal school lunch program

February 24, 2024

State Rep. Matthew Rinker is championing a bill in Iowa that calls for every public and private school to provide free lunches to students, aiming to address food insecurity challenges. The initiative seeks to ensure students' nutritional needs are met, emphasizing the importance of access to meals for academic success, despite facing initial hurdles in the legislative process.
 Full Story: KIMT-TV (Mason City, Iowa) (2/22) 
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Hawaii bill would establish universal school meals

February 23, 2024

Legislation introduced in Hawaii aims to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students, addressing food insecurity and its impact on health and learning. While widely supported, the main obstacle is the estimated $32 million annual cost, prompting calls for funding to ensure students can focus on education without hunger.
 Full Story: KHON-TV (Honolulu)

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Ohio weighs proposal for universal school meals

February 16, 2024

Lawmakers in Ohio have introduced two education bills, one ensuring free school meals for all students while the other aims to increase the statewide base teacher salary to $50,000 per year. The universal school meal proposal also includes mandates that meals cannot be thrown away after being served to students with meal debt and that the district cannot "publicly identify or stigmatize a student" with meal debt.

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Free school meal effort fails to pass in S.D.

February 15, 2024

South Dakota legislators rejected a bill aimed at covering school meal costs for families near the poverty line who are not eligible for federal programs, despite support from advocacy groups emphasizing the importance of nutrition for students' learning. This marks the second failed attempt, following the rejection of a similar bill, as critics argue against the state subsidizing federal programs.
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Momentum builds for universal school meals in N.Y.

February 15, 2024

Advocates and lawmakers convened at the New York state Capitol to seek increased funding for programs addressing food insecurity, including funding for a universal school meal program, SNAP benefits, Nourish New York and the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program. The collaboration aims to secure additional resources, emphasizing the importance of supporting programs to make a substantial impact on the community.
 Full Story: Spectrum News

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Minn. mulls minimum seat time for school lunch

February 15, 2024

A proposed bill in Minnesota aims to mandate a minimum of 15 minutes of seat time for students in the national school lunch program to eat their lunch. The legislation, if approved, would exclude transition time and be effective from July 1, for the following school year.
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Apply today for SNF professional development scholarships

February 14, 2024

Achieve your school nutrition educational dreams! The School Nutrition Foundation's (SNF) professional development scholarships provide SNA members with funding for tuition and books for the following school year. For details on eligibility, visit the SNF website. The deadline for all professional development scholarships is March 29. Apply today!

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Ill. advocates seek to fund universal school meal program

February 14, 2024

Coalitions in Illinois are urging the General Assembly to allocate funding in the 2025 state budget for the Healthy School Meals for All program, aiming to provide free breakfast and lunches to all students. Despite passing the bill last year, the initiative requires proper funding to address child hunger, affecting over 315,000 children in the state.
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Hawaii considers providing universal school meals

February 14, 2024

Hawaii is considering legislation that would offer free meals to all public school students, potentially reducing child food insecurity and enhancing academic performance. While the state Department of Education expresses concerns about the estimated cost, advocates emphasize the potential positive impact on students' well-being and educational outcomes.
 Full Story: Hawaii Public Radio

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SNA's 2024 Awards: Nominate a colleague today!

February 13, 2024

The nomination period for SNA's 2024 Awards is open. The SNA Awards program highlights the outstanding and important work of SNA members and state affiliates. Directors, Managers, Employees and Industry members are eligible for national and regional awards recognizing their achievements in school foodservice, leadership, membership recruitment and professional development. Click the links for more information, including eligibility requirements and then nominate a colleague -- or yourself -- today! Don't delay -- the submission deadline is March 1
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School Meals for All NC advocates for universal access

February 13, 2024

The School Meals for All NC coalition -- aiming to provide cost-free school meals to all students in North Carolina public schools -- has released resources, including a video featuring educators supporting the initiative. With monthly virtual meetings for advocates and a hunger leaders conference scheduled, the coalition emphasizes the importance of universal school meals in enhancing student performance and nutrition.


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Register for this week's SNA webinar

February 12, 2024

Join SNA's School Meal Advocacy in 2024 webinar (Feb. 14, 3:00 pm ET) to hear experienced school nutrition advocates discuss the SNA 2024 Position Paper. Gain insider tips for advocating on behalf of school meal programs at the 2024 Legislative Action Conference (#LAC24) and throughout the year! All members are encouraged to participate -- especially those attending #LAC24. Register here!
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Proposed bill prohibits cell-based meat in school lunches

February 12, 2024

A recent bill introduced in the US Senate that aims to ban the use of cell-cultured meat in school lunches has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The office of Sen. Mike Rounds, who co-sponsored the bill, highlighted the food safety risks associated with a "lack of demonstrated research on cell-cultivated protein" as well as a lack of existing guidance from the USDA on the use of cultivated meat in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program.
 Full Story: Food Safety Magazine
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School districts prepare for financial challenges

February 8, 2024

As temporary funding sources dwindle and states face worsening financial pictures, school districts are facing familiar challenges such as resource disparities and hiring difficulties, alongside fresh issues like diminishing revenue and the expiration of federal and state relief efforts. Top concerns for school finance officials include the ongoing need for mental health investment, potential staffing cuts as pandemic aid winds down and the increasing complexity of audits for federal relief spending.
 Full Story: Education Week
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Minn. voters support universal school meal program

February 7, 2024

Over 70% of Minnesota voters, spanning various demographics, approve of the legislature's decision to offer free school meals to all students across the state, regardless of income levels. However, the KSTP/SurveyUSA poll finds some concerns about unexpected costs.
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Colo. universal school meals ease financial strain

February 7, 2024

Proposition FF, known as the Healthy School Meals for All program, has been positively impacting local families in Colorado, providing free lunches to all public school students and saving money for families. The initiative, funded by higher taxes on some residents, has received positive feedback from families, alleviating concerns about children going hungry at school and fostering equality among students.

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SNF professional development scholarships are open!

February 6, 2024

Achieve your school nutrition educational dreams! The School Nutrition Foundation's (SNF) professional development scholarships provide SNA members with funding for tuition and books. For details on eligibility, visit the SNF website. The deadline for all professional development scholarships is March 29. Apply today!

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Okla. lawmakers consider universal school meals

February 6, 2024

In response to the escalating school lunch debt in parts of Oklahoma, lawmakers are advocating for a $30 million state-funded universal meal program to ensure that all K-12 students have access, aiming to alleviate financial burdens on families and prevent the debt from going to collections. The proposed initiative seeks to cover the costs and streamline school lunch programs in several districts.
 Full Story: KOKI-TV (Tulsa, Okla.) 
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Minn. school nutrition pros advocate for longer lunchtime

February 6, 2024

The Minnesota School Nutrition Association is urging the state legislature to mandate at least 15 minutes of seat time for all students during the lunch period, aiming to ensure adequate time for meals and reduce food waste. Additionally, they seek state reimbursement for providing free milk to students.

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Check out the newly dropped #NSBW24 resources

February 1, 2024

Hang ten and catch the wave of excitement! National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW24) is hitting the shores from March 4 to 8! Are you ready to bask in the sunshine and share the aloha spirit across your school? SNA has everything you need to make this year's NSBW the best one ever! Paddle over to the SNA website to find all these amazing resources and more.

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Ark. targets childhood hunger in summer

February 1, 2024

Arkansas is set to address childhood hunger by participating in the USDA's Summer EBT program, aiming to provide grocery-buying benefits to over 300,000 eligible children during the summer months. With 1 in 5 Arkansas children facing hunger, the state anticipates an economic impact of over $68 million from the program, while the Non-Congregate Summer Meal Program helps reach families in rural communities.
 Full Story: Public News Service


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Get advocacy tips with SNA's upcoming webinar

January 31, 2024

Don't miss SNA's upcoming webinar "School Meal Advocacy in 2024" on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. ET, for advocacy tips from school nutrition experts. The webinar will feature a panel of experienced advocates who will review the SNA 2024 Position Paper and accompanying resources and equip participants to effectively champion school meal programs. Plus, if you're attending SNA's upcoming 2024 Legislative Action Conference (#LAC24), it will help you make the most of the conference! And if you're unable to attend the conference--this webinar is designed to ensure your advocacy efforts are impactful throughout the year. Register today.

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N.Y. lawmakers seek full funding of universal school meals

January 30, 2024

N.Y. legislators, in a bipartisan effort, are pushing for an additional $90 million to achieve full funding for universal school meals. Despite a proposed $11 million increase in the governor's budget, advocates stress the importance of ensuring that every student, regardless of income, has access to nutritious meals in schools.
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Foundation to wipe out $1M in school meal debt

January 29, 2024

The Arby's Foundation has initiated a $1 million program to settle unpaid lunch balances for students across the US. With $203,534 already donated to 7,413 students in four metro Atlanta public school districts, the remaining funds will benefit over 47,000 students nationwide, addressing the prevalent issue of unpaid student lunch debts.
 Full Story: Good Morning America
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Conn. lawmakers seek $16M extension for free K-12 meals

January 27, 2024

Connecticut lawmakers Rep. Moira Rader and Sen. Ceci Maher plan to introduce a bill allocating $16 million to extend the free K-12 meal program through June 2025. The initiative, initially funded with federal COVID-19 relief, aims to provide nutritious meals for over 177,000 students.

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NYC school budget cuts slash cafeteria menus

January 24, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams' $60 million cut to the school foods budget is expected to result in the removal of popular items from school cafeteria menus, including cookies, chicken dumplings, and bean and cheese burritos. Students and parents are concerned about the impact on nutrition and the possibility of increased spending outside of schools.
 Full Story: Chalkbeat 

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Conn. advocates seek funding for free school meals

January 25, 2024

School nutrition directors and anti-hunger advocates in Connecticut plan to lobby for ongoing funding in the state legislature to provide free school meals for students. The $16 million allocated for this initiative last year is set to expire, and advocates stress the importance of addressing food insecurity without stigmatizing low-income students.
 Full Story: WNPR-FM (Hartford, Conn.) 
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Va. lawmakers consider free school meal legislation

January 24, 2024

The Virginia House Education Subcommittee unanimously referred a bill that would make school meals free for all public elementary and secondary school students to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. If enacted, the bill would require schools to participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
 Full Story: WRIC-TV (Richmond, Va.) 
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SNF professional development scholarships are open!

January 23, 2024

Achieve your school nutrition educational dreams! The School Nutrition Foundation's (SNF) professional development scholarships provide SNA members with funding for tuition and books. For details on eligibility, visit the SNF website. The deadline for all professional development scholarships is March 29. Apply today!

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Senate debates whole milk for schools

January 23, 2024

The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, which seeks to reintroduce whole milk in schools, faces resistance from the USDA, which argues it contradicts established health guidelines. The bill, previously approved by the House, aims to exempt fluid milk from saturated fat calculations, emphasizing bipartisan support and potential nutritional benefits.
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Wash. lawmaker proposes universal school meal program

January 21, 2024

A Washington state lawmaker is proposing legislation to provide free school meals for all K-12 students in the state regardless of income levels, citing the positive impact on student performance and reduced disruptions in the classroom. The estimated cost of $110 million per year is viewed as a worthwhile investment, aligning with the success of similar programs in eight other states.
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Free school meals linked to fewer suspensions

January 21, 2024

A recent study reveals that free school meals significantly reduce the risk of student suspensions. The research, conducted by the University of North Carolina and the US Census Bureau, indicates a 10% decline in suspension likelihood -- 22% among high school students.
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Unlock SNA's Conference Video Series

January 19, 2024

Jumpstart your learning this year with SNA's Conference Video Series! Get the best of the Association's conferences on demand with 10 insightful sessions led by esteemed school nutrition professionals who share their expertise and knowledge on a variety of topics. Learn more.
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Apply for an SNF Equipment Grant

January 18, 2024

Applications for the School Nutrition Foundation's (SNF) Equipment Grants are now open! Thanks to our generous industry sponsors, the total value of equipment grants being awarded this year to selected SNA members is over half a million dollars. SNF Equipment Grants offer an opportunity for your school or school district to be awarded new kitchen equipment, cafeteria furniture or décor for a total upgrade of your school's current kitchen or dining areas! Apply now before the March 29 deadline.
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Dive into the #NSBW24 Shop!

January 12, 2024

The #NSBW24 Shop is open! The sun is rising on the 2024 National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW24), March 4 to 8, and for this event, we're catching the wave with the theme "Surf's Up with School Breakfast." Check out the themed decor, giveaways and merchandise. Start shopping today.
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School Nutrition magazine: Read the January/February 2024 issue

January 11, 2024

Many of us see the new year as an opportunity to commit to bettering ourselves. Each year, the first of January provides a metaphorical fresh start, with new opportunities, experiences and changes on the horizon. Of course, that also paves the way for new challenges and turmoil down the road -- but what if you could get ahead of those future stressors before they overwhelm you? In this issue of School Nutrition, we're focusing on exactly that. You'll find tips on stress prevention, so you can head into the new year prepared to overcome or avoid potential stressors before they drag you too far down. Read the January/February 2024 issue.
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USDASummerProgram

Jan. 8, 2024

The USDA's Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program, launching this summer, is set to provide $40 per child each month to eligible families during the summer -- potentially benefiting 29 million school-aged children. While over 30 states plan to enroll, some, including Iowa and Nebraska, have declined, citing costs and existing programs.
 Full Story: K-12 Dive (1/4) 
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Join this week's webinar: Recruitment, onboarding and retention strategies

Jan. 8, 2024

Start off the new year with a joint webinar (2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 10) hosted by the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP). Staffing continues to be a challenge for foodservice professionals no matter the setting. Join four industry professionals as they discuss their experience in the staffing areas of recruitment, onboarding and retention. Learn more and reserve your spot.
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Dive into the #NSBW24 Shop

Jan. 5, 2024

The #NSBW24 Shop is open! The sun is rising on the 2024 National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW24), March 4 to 8, and for this event, we're catching the wave with the theme "Surf's Up with School Breakfast." Check out the themed décor, giveaways and merchandise. Start shopping today.
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Catch up on professional development with the SNA Conference Video Series

Jan. 4, 2024

With the SNA Conference Video Series, you'll get the best of the Association's conferences on demand at your fingertips! This series features 10 insightful sessions led by esteemed school nutrition professionals who share their expertise and knowledge on a variety of topics. And you can bundle and save! In this bundle, you have the flexibility to access all 10 videos and earn 7.75 CEUs at a discounted price. Access the bundle of all 10 videos here. You also have the option to buy the sessions individually.
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Unleash your creativity in 2024 with SNA's Promotion Calendar

Jan. 3, 2024

Attention, SNA members! Let your imagination run wild with SNA's Promotion Calendar -- designed to take your school meal program promotions to a whole new level of fun and appeal. Sponsored by Conagra Foodservice and presented by School Nutrition magazine, this amazing resource is bursting with fantastic events, commemorations and celebration ideas that will transform your school's dining experience this year.
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Ind. schools transform students' meal experience

Jan. 2, 2024

The Patachou Foundation initiated a new school meal program in two Indianapolis charter schools, focusing on providing freshly made, high-quality breakfast, lunch and snacks at no cost to the students. The initiative aims to enhance student learning by improving the quality of school meals, resulting in increased student satisfaction, improved attendance rates and reduced behavior issues, as part of a model that involves restaurant-style kitchens and renovations in participating schools.
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Give yourself the gift of SNF's LEAD training

Dec. 19., 2023

Did you hear? There's a new LEAD to Succeed™ training on "Influence & Persuasion." Hone your leadership skills and earn CEUs with "Influence & Persuasion," the latest training from the School Nutrition Foundation's LEAD to Succeed™ program. Available to SNA members and non-members at no cost! Visit the SNA TrainingZone to log in to your account, or create a free non-member account to access the training.
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Survey highlights drug use among US teens

Dec. 19, 2023

Results from the Monitoring the Future survey revealed that adolescent substance use in 2023 stayed below pre-pandemic levels, highlighting that abstaining, or not using, marijuana, alcohol and nicotine increased for 12th graders, with 62.6% reporting abstaining from any use of these substances. Researchers also noted that the percentage remained stable for 8th and 10th graders, with 87% and 76.9% reporting abstaining from any use of marijuana, alcohol and nicotine over the past month.
 Full Story: Healio (free registration) (12/14) 

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N.Y. lawmakers push for universal school meals

Dec. 19, 2023

Legislators and other childhood hunger advocates in New York are promoting adding the Healthy School Meals For All program to the state's Fiscal Year 2025 budget. The move would fund and mandate free school lunches for all students, regardless of their family's income, and the law aims to ensure that all students have access to healthy meals during the school day.

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Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act passes House

Dec. 18, 2023

The House of Representatives passed the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, allowing the reintroduction of whole milk in school cafeterias and overturning regulations implemented in 2012. The bill, which permits a variety of milk options, now moves to the Senate for consideration.
 Full Story: The Hill (12/13),  Lancaster Farming (Pa.) (12/13) 

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Catch up on research and best practices with JCN&M

Dec. 16, 2023

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management (JCN&M), SNA's peer-reviewed academic publication, is back with its Fall 2023 issue, now available on SNA's website. JCN&M features scholarly articles that will keep you up to date on the latest child nutrition research and best practices.
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Legislation would expand milk choices in schools

Dec. 12, 2023

Congress is expected to take up the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023, which would amend existing nutritional guidelines for schools to allow more whole milk to be served. Advocates say whole milk is nutritious and should be a choice in school cafeterias.
 Full Story: DairyReporter (12/11) 
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Federal government looks at ways to reduce food waste

Dec. 12, 2023

A new food waste reduction draft strategy from the FDA, USDA and EPA sets four objectives and potential measures to support the goal of cutting food waste and food loss in half by 2030. Strategies include investing in transportation optimization technology, whole crop purchasing, consumer education, expanded food donation programs, improved organic waste recycling infrastructure and growing the market for products that make use of recycled organic waste.

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Make a splash with #NSBW24 merch

Dec. 4, 2023

It's time to begin your plans for 2024 National School Breakfast Week (#NSBW24). The #NSBW24 theme "Surf's Up with School Breakfast" is intended to inspire you to create a celebration of delicious and nutritious meals. Plus, don't forget to check out the official #NSBW24 shop -- you'll find a sea of giveaways for students and staff, decor for your foodservice space, official merchandise and more.

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Help spotlight the importance of school lunch

Nov. 30, 2023

Did you know 1 in 8 kids in America lives in a household without consistent access to adequate food? School lunches don't just keep kids healthy-they keep kids from being hungry so they can learn. The Made with School Lunch campaign, from SNA and National Dairy Council, brings awareness to the massive need for school meals -- and how school meals make it possible for all kids to do the most important thing of all... grow up! Check out the videos, graphics, posters and social media posts to help you get the word out. Learn more.
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State News

Nov. 28, 2023

?? Colorado Senate bill SB002 establishes Colorado’s participation in Summer EBT and designates the state Department of Human Services as the lead agency responsible for its administration.
  • The bill also designates a partnership with the Department of Education to develop outreach plans and offer technical assistance to SFAs.
?? Wisconsin Senate bill SB720 provides additional state funding for schools that offer free school breakfast and lunch to all students.
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Secret Shoppers' top product picks at #ANC23

Nov. 17, 2023

School Nutrition magazine sent K-12 operators (our "Secret Shoppers") into the Exhibit Hall at this year's Annual National Conference in Denver, Colo., to scope out their favorite K-12 products on the show floor. These volunteers represented districts and schools from Portland, Ore., to central Florida. Armed with the knowledge of what kids crave and what solutions schools need, they brought back their top picks for 2023. Check out this year's Secret Shopper picks (make sure to log into your SNA account!).
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Read the Fall issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management

Nov. 14, 2023

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management (JCN&M), SNA's peer-reviewed academic publication, is back with its Fall 2023 issue, now available on SNA's website. JCN&M features scholarly articles that will keep you up to date on the latest child nutrition research and best practices.
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Wis. coalition proposes universal school meal legislation

Nov. 8, 2023

The Healthy School Meals for All Wisconsin Coalition has introduced Assembly Bill 805, which seeks to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students in the state and enable schools to receive state reimbursement for these meals. This initiative aims to address food insecurity among students and ensure they have their basic needs met to enhance their educational potential.

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SN magazine: Discover fresh strategies for your cafeteria

Nov. 8, 2023

Get inspired! In the November/December 2023 issue of School Nutrition, we're taking a look at fresh strategies you can take to improve your foodservice space, incorporate new products or resources, or simply rethink your approach to how you've always done things. Log into your SNA account and start reading the November/December 2023 issue today!

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SNA Position Paper Survey

Nov. 8, 2023

Don’t forget to take the survey! On October 24, all SNA members received an email with a unique link to the SNA 2024 Position Paper Survey. Your input is critical in shaping a strong school nutrition advocacy agenda in the upcoming BIG policy year. Participants could win one of two FREE trips to #LAC24!

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How does Biden executive order address AI in schools?

Nov. 4, 2023

An executive order on AI signed this week by President Joe Biden has several directives that address the use of the technology in schools, requiring US Department of Justice officials to work with federal civil rights officials to prevent potential tech-driven discrimination. The order also requires equity-focused AI-use guidance from the US Department of Education -- including an AI tool kit -- as well as requirements that tech companies test their products for safety and data privacy, particularly products that can monitor online activity.


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Unleash your creativity with the 2023-24 Promotion Calendar

Nov. 4, 2023

Attention, SNA members! Let your imagination run wild with the 2023-24 Promotion Calendar -- designed to take your school meal program promotions to a whole new level of fun and appeal. Sponsored by Conagra Foodservice and presented by School Nutrition magazine, this amazing resource is bursting with fantastic events, commemorations and celebration ideas that will transform your school's dining experience.
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USDA: Child food insecurity rises in US

Oct. 30, 2023

Food insecurity in US households with children rose to 17.3% in 2022, with child food insecurity specifically increasing from 6.2% in 2021 to 8.8% in 2022, according to research from the USDA. The uptick in food insecurity coincided with the scaling back of pandemic-era safety measures, like the child tax credit and universal school meals.
 Full Story: K-12 Dive (10/27) 

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Report: After-school meal participation falls 23%

Oct. 30, 2023

Participation in the federal Afterschool Meal Program dropped by 23% between October 2021 and October 2022 -- the first decrease since the program began in 2010 -- according to a report by the Food Research & Action Center. Over 1.6 million low-income children missed after-school meals, resulting in $116.5 million in missed federal reimbursements, FRAC noted, advising that Congress lower area eligibility requirements, increase federal funding and streamline the program to boost access.
 Full Story: K-12 Dive (10/26) 

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KANSAS SENATOR CONFRONTS BIDEN OVER SCHOOL LUNCHES

Oct. 28, 2023

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-KS, spearheaded an ultimately unsuccessful resolution to stop the implementation of a Biden administration policy to withhold school lunch funding from schools that reject pro-”trans” policies. “This administration is using school lunches to attack our youth to implement their ‘transgender’ policies,” Marshall said. "I would ask the White House to leave our kids alone.”  READ
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Number of food-insecure households in US increasing

Oct. 27, 2023

The number of Americans living in households dealing with food insecurity jumped from 33.8 million in 2021 to 44.2 million last year, while the percentage of households with very low food security rose from 3.8% to 5.1% during the period, according to a report from the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Food insecurity was more prevalent in rural areas than urban areas, and Black and Latino households were more likely to experience food insecurity.
 Full Story: The Hill (10/26),  The Washington Post (10/25) 


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Take your career to new heights: SNS Credentialing Program

Oct. 28, 2023

Are you ready to take your career to new heights and join the ranks of esteemed SNS Credential holders? Don't miss the chance to further enhance your knowledge and skills in school nutrition management. Learn more about the SNS Credentialing Program and sign up for an upcoming exam in your area.
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Fla. students enlisted to taste-test school menu

Oct. 27, 2023

With the hopes of increasing school meal participation, Florida's Miami-Dade County Public Schools is turning to the student taste-testers for its menu items. Roughly 50 students in the district tried several new recipes and provided feedback to the school nutrition staff via an online survey.
 Full Story: WLRN-TV/WLRN-FM (Miami) (10/26)  
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Farm-to-school programs bring fresh food to cafeterias

Oct. 26, 2023

A growing number of communities are participating in the farm-to-school movement that connects local farms with school cafeterias, providing fresh food for students and economic support for regional agriculture. While federal funding of these programs from the USDA has increased in the past year, there is a significant need for more culinary training and cafeteria staff with the skills to prepare unprocessed food.
Full Story: National Public Radio (10/24) 
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Bill aims to increase federal school meal reimbursements

Oct. 26, 2023

Three senators are hoping to address food insecurity in children with the Healthy Meals Help Kids Learn Act, which will increase the federal reimbursements available to schools that provide breakfast and lunch. The hope is that the extra money given to schools can be used for more meals or to invest in higher-quality produce, kitchen equipment and school nutrition staffing.
Full Story: Las Cruces Sun-News (N.M.) (10/26) 
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Join the #ANC24 speaker lineup!

Oct. 24, 2023

Share your expertise in school nutrition and submit an education sessional proposal for SNA's Annual National Conference (#ANC24), taking place from July 14 to 16, 2024, in Boston, Mass. This premier event for K-12 school nutrition professionals serves as a launching pad for thought leaders like you to catalyze meaningful change. We're excited to see how your ideas will shape #ANC24! Submit your proposal by 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 6, 2023.
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Legislation update: School Meals for All

Oct. 24, 2023

SNA has continued to advocate for school meals at no cost for all students, as part of its 2023 Position Paper. In May of this year, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the "Universal School Meals Program Act," providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to all students at no cost. The bill revives the success of meals at no cost provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. SNA has joined 18 allied organizations to form the Healthy School Meals for All Coalition and continue supporting these efforts. Learn more.


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Friday fun: Check out #ANC23 highlights!

Sept. 29, 2023

Take a look back at the amazing time everyone had this past July at SNA's 2023 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Denver. Thanks to all that attended and "reached higher" through education sessions, exhibits, networking and of course plenty of fun, too. We invite you to join us in Boston for #ANC24! Mark your calendars now for July 14 to 16, 2024.
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USDA expands free school meals for low-income students

Sept. 27, 2023

The USDA has lowered the threshold for schools to qualify for free breakfast and lunch programs, making millions of additional students in low-income communities eligible. The federal government will now cover the cost of free meals for all enrolled students in schools where 25% of families participate in income-based public benefits -- down from the previous threshold of 40% -- benefiting approximately 3,000 additional school districts and more than 5 million students.
 Full Story: The Associated Press (9/26),  K-12 Dive (9/26) 
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SN magazine: Teaching & reaching adult learners

Sept. 26, 2023

A new school year comes with tons of new experiences and opportunities -- and not just for students! The September/October issue of School Nutrition explores the world of adult learning, and how you can (and should) commit to being a lifelong learner, with features including an overview of SNA's LEAD to Succeed™ initiative, training tips and tricks from several members of SNF's Cadre of Trainers, primers on adult learning principles and professional development opportunities and much more. Read SN's September/October 2023 issue.


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Alaska districts receive federal nutrition grants

Sept. 26, 2023

Two rural school districts in Alaska have been awarded federal grants of over $100,000 each by the USDA to improve student nutrition. The funds will be used to reduce sugar and sodium, increase locally sourced foods and support initiatives like hydroponic farming and school gardens.
 Full Story: KFSK-FM (Petersburg, Alaska) (9/24) 


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Learn to LEAD with intelligence!

Sept. 25, 2023

Three new CEUs await! The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has introduced a brand-new module in the LEAD to Succeed™ Leadership Growth series. With "Leading with Emotional, Conversational, and Cultural Intelligence in the Leadership Series" you can earn 3 new CEUs! LEAD to Succeed™ is high-quality, turnkey professional development training created specifically for school nutrition professionals, at no cost.


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Minn. district faces lunch challenges

Sept. 22, 2023

Hawley Public Schools in Minnesota is grappling with lunch challenges, including food shortages, high demand for specific items and record participation, despite legislation providing universal school meal service. Superintendent Phil Jensen reported that the district is working to provide nutritious and satisfying meals amid these issues.
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Take your career to new heights: SNS Credentialing Program

Sept. 22, 2023

Are you ready to take your career to new heights and join the ranks of esteemed SNS Credential holders? Don't miss the chance to further enhance your knowledge and skills in school nutrition management. Learn more about the SNS Credentialing Program and sign up for an upcoming exam in your area.


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S.D. representative aims to curb school meal debt

Sept. 22, 2023

South Dakota State Rep. Kadyn Wittman is working on legislation to reduce the cost of school lunches for families in the state, following the rejection of previous legislation. South Dakota has approximately $6.3 million in school meal debt, and Wittman believes offering free school lunches can create a healthier community.
 Full Story: KELO-TV (Sioux Falls, S.D.) (9/21) 


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Survey: Students need longer school lunchtimes

Sept. 21, 2023

A survey by the EdWeek Research Center reveals that more than 90% of educators believe students require at least 30 minutes for lunch, yet over three-quarters of teachers claim their students have less time. Some states are exploring legislation to extend minimum lunch periods, aiming to promote better nutrition and overall student well-being.
 Full Story: Education Week (9/20) 


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La. schools face challenges providing free meals

Sept. 21, 2023

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools officials are facing challenges providing free meals to all students due to rising food and labor costs, coupled with reduced federal pandemic relief funds. Despite offering free breakfast and lunch to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision, the reimbursements have not kept pace with increased meal costs.
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Your #NSLW23 arsenal: Resources for a legendary School Lunch Week!

Sept. 18, 2023

National School Lunch Week is almost here... Oct. 9 to 13! Have you crafted your master plan yet? Check out the newly dropped SNA-provided resources, including the official #NSLW23 Toolkit; Activity Guide & Coloring Sheets, #NSLW23 merchandise, infographics and more. Get ready to conquer #NSLW23 and make it an epic week!


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Fall produce rounds out a heart-healthy diet

Sept. 15, 2023

Fresh fall produce including pumpkin, apples, pomegranates, beets, kale, okra, Brussels sprouts, cranberries and sweet potatoes can offer lots of options for heart-healthy cooking and eating, say registered dietitians. Autumn vegetables and fruits are known for their high levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health.
Full Story: Verywell Health (9/13) 
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RD shares go-to nutritious, budget-friendly recipe

Sept. 15, 2023

Registered dietitian nutritionist Sara Haas offers a recipe that hits all the marks for a quick, budget-friendly, nutritious dish. Haas' Cheesy Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole can be easily and quickly assembled with cost-effective pantry staples, is packed with plant-based nutrients and is a rich source of fiber and protein. It also is versatile, Haas says, "if you don't have one of the items listed, swap in something else or leave it out."
Full Story: EatingWell (9/12)  

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N.Y. allocates $134M to expand school meal access

Sept. 15, 2023

New York state has allocated $134 million to expand free school meals in an effort to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to students in high-poverty schools. While this funding aims to alleviate financial burdens on families, advocates are calling for the establishment of a universal school meal program to ensure all students have access to meals at no cost.
 Full Story: Spectrum News/New York State (9/14) 
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Officials want schools to offer Medicaid services

Sept. 14, 2023

The US Department of Education wants to bring Medicaid services into schools to help keep students healthy and will push for legislation that would allow schools to serve as health care centers. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said if students are going to learn, they need to be healthy.
 Full Story: KSDK-TV (St. Louis) (9/11) 


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Md. district offers free, reduced-price meals

Sept. 14, 2023

Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland is participating in federally funded programs like the National School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program to provide free or reduced-priced meals to students facing food insecurity. Eligibility is determined based on annual income requirements, and meals will be offered without discrimination based on various factors, ensuring access for all enrolled participants.
 Full Story: WUSA-TV (Washington, D.C.) (9/12) 

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Support builds for universal school meal legislation in N.J.

Sept. 11, 2023

As New Jersey students returned to classrooms this week, the number of them eligible for free or reduced school breakfast and lunch jumped — and hunger insecurity advocates are eyeing ways to make those meals free for all children.

“We are hopeful — since New Jersey has done so much and really led the way in addressing hunger and food insecurity — that in this next legislative session, they can get a school-meals-for-all bill passed,” said Lisa Pitz of Hunger Free New Jersey.

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States adapt to funding changes for school meals

Sept. 11, 2023

The federal government's funding for free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic came to an end in 2022 after USDA waivers expired, leading to different responses from states. While most states reverted to their pre-pandemic school meal systems, some, like Michigan, continued to provide free meals for all students, recognizing the importance of addressing food insecurity among children.
 Full Story: PBS 

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Poll: Majority of Americans back universal school meals

Sept. 11, 2023

A recent YouGov poll indicates that the majority of Americans believe public schools should offer free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of family income. The results show strong bipartisan support, with 60% of adults favoring free lunch for all students and 57% supporting free breakfast.
 Full Story: Chalkbeat 

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More states provide universal school meals

Sept. 11, 2023

Several states have established permanent universal free school meal programs, ensuring that all students can access breakfast and lunch without charge with the intention of reducing child hunger, minimizing meal debt and creating a positive cafeteria environment. "Research has shown if kids are hungry, they're not going to be ready to learn," said Chris Derico, president of the School Nutrition Association and child nutrition director for West Virginia's Barbour County Schools.
 Full Story: CNN 
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SN Plus: The dollars and sense of unpaid meal charges

Sept. 7, 2023

Unpaid meal debt in school nutrition operations had reached a crisis point even before the rise of COVID-19. Start the new school year on a firm financial footing by reviewing your meal charge policy, stepping up collection of meal applications and other strategies suggested in "Managing the Problem of Meal Debt," a digital bonus article from School Nutrition magazine. Thanks to Basic American Foods for its generous support in making this article available.

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4 states require opioid, fentanyl education

September 5, 2023

Illinois, Mississippi, Oregon and Texas have passed legislation requiring students to learn about the dangers of opioids and fentanyl. These measures aim to address the increasing rates of youth overdoses, and experts say they expect more states will propose opioid education in schools as awareness grows about the risks associated with these drugs.
Full Story: K-12 Dive (9/1)  
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Make every day a celebration in the school cafeteria!

September 1, 2023

Attention, SNA members! The highly anticipated 2023-24 Promotion Calendar is here, and it's a feast for your creativity. Packed with exciting monthlong, weeklong and single-day holidays and events, this calendar will make every day in your cafeteria a celebration! Sponsored by Conagra Foodservice and presented by School Nutrition magazine, it will transform your school's dining experience. Learn more.

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USDA grants bring more fresh produce to schools

September 1, 2023

The US Department of Agriculture has extended its produce grant program for another year, with awards to 139 Idaho elementary schools ranging from $8,475 to $35,625. The grants are part of the state's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which encourages healthier food choices among students, and the funding will provide fresh fruits and vegetables as afternoon snacks on Wednesdays and Thursdays to eligible schools.

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Ky. district offers free meals to all students

August 29, 2023

All students in Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky are now eligible for free breakfast and lunch, removing the stigma of receiving free meals and providing greater access to nutritious food. The program, available for four years, benefits families struggling financially and helps ensure students have access to healthy meals.
Full Story: WFPL-FM (Louisville, Ky.) (8/28)  
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Free school meals provided to students in Ga. district

August 28, 2023

Thirty-one schools in Georgia's Fulton County School are now offering free breakfast and lunch to all students through the USDA's Community Eligibility Provision. Families at other schools in the district can apply online to check their eligibility for free or reduced-price meals based on income and other criteria.
 Full Story: Georgia Public Broadcasting (8/28)
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More states make school meals permanently free

August 28, 2023

Several US states -- Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, Vermont, Michigan and Massachusetts -- are joining California and Maine this school year in providing free school breakfasts and lunches to all students regardless of family income. The move aims to alleviate hunger among students and promote better learning outcomes, with advocates pushing for nationwide extension of the program as other states consider similar changes.
 Full Story: The Associated Press (8/26) 
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Step into a world of learning with the SNA Podcast

August 28, 2023

Turn your podcast listening experience into a holistic wellness activity! Say hello to the power of walking while listening to SNA's podcast, "School Food for Thought," all while utilizing the STEPs app to track your progress! Don't forget about STEPs August challenges and finish the month strong with a meditation practice.

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New SNA State Legislative Report

August 25, 2023

Check out SNA's Third Quarter State Legislative Report which provides a summary of key school nutrition state legislation that was introduced between Jan. 1 and July 30, 2023. Current trends include the expansion of school breakfast and lunch programs, provisions related to unpaid meal debt and efforts to reduce administrative burdens. Eight states have passed permanent healthy school meals for all legislation. Read the report.


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SNA's Food Allergy Resource Center

August 24, 2023

Did you know that an estimated 13% of school-aged children in the US have one or more food allergies? Find the answers to common food allergy questions and much more on SNA's Food Allergy Resource Center, brought to you by the National Peanut Board. Learn more.
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How school nutrition pros adapt to USDA sodium limits

August 24, 2023

The USDA has implemented lower sodium limits in school meals for the 2023-2024 academic year with reductions ranging from 120 mg to 135 mg depending on grade level. School cafeterias are adapting by incorporating herbs, spices and healthier alternatives, aiming to encourage students to make healthier dietary choices from a young age, according to Kathleen Britton, the Utah State Board of Education's director of child nutrition.
Full Story: KSTU-TV (Salt Lake City) (8/23)


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Membership Starts with ME: Annual recruitment campaign

August 23, 2023

SNA is kicking off the 2023-24 membership year with the Membership Starts with ME campaign to celebrate our top recruiters. Show your support for school nutrition and get a chance to win great prizes. Recruiting at least one new member during any month through May 2024 automatically enters you to win one of our exciting prizes -- from a year of free membership to free training zone classes. Need some help recruiting? Check out the variety of membership campaign materials for a quick and easy way to explain the benefits of SNA membership to potential new members.
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Earn while you learn! Gain CEUs with SNA's podcast

August 22, 2023

Earn SNA CEUs when you tune into episode two (and pass a short quiz linked with each episode), "Engaging the Whole World in the Cafeteria." You'll hear from E. Nichole Taylor, Chichester School District (Penn.), and Lindsay Aguilar, RD, SNS, Tucson Unified School District (Ariz.) as they discuss their experiences catering to diverse communities, supporting refugee families and creating a cafeteria environment that's welcoming to all students by serving foods that will remind some of home and invite others to partake in a global culinary adventure. SNA's podcast is available on Apple Podcasts as well as SpotifyGoogle Podcasts and SchoolNutrition.org.

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Mich. allocates $160M for free school meals

August 21, 2023

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bipartisan education budget, providing $160 million to offer all 1.4 million public school students in the state free breakfast and lunch for one school year, aiming to eliminate meal stigma and address food insecurity. School districts and food pantries are welcoming the move, highlighting its positive impact on students' well-being and learning.
 Full Story: WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids, Mich.) (8/20) 
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S.C. considers reinstating free school meals

August 21, 2023

Efforts are underway in South Carolina to reinstate a federal program that provided free meals at public schools, with the Child Food and Nutrition Services Study Committee examining the benefits, costs and potential shift to a farm-to-lunch table approach. While considering potential costs and benefits, lawmakers are studying the feasibility of transitioning nutritional programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture, focusing on improving child well-being and addressing food insecurity.
 Full Story: WCIV-TV (Charleston, S.C.) (8/18) 

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Experts: School lunch vital for student focus

August 18, 2023

A balanced lunch with fruits, protein and fiber is crucial for students' focus and overall health, as unhealthy options can lead to mood swings and distraction, according to experts. Providing healthy snacks at home further supports students' energy levels and nourishment.
Full Story: KTVO-TV (Kirksville, Mo.) (8/17) 
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Minn. district to forgive student debt amid universal meals

August 23, 2023

Minnesota's universal school meals program ensures all students receive free breakfast and lunch without paperwork, with an option for additional assistance if parents apply. St. Cloud School District 742 offers reimbursable meals with specific components, while also forgiving lunch debt to ensure students' nutritional needs are met.
Full Story: KNSI-AM/FM (St. Cloud, Minn.) (8/18)
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Workers are more loyal to themselves than the company

August 18, 2023

Younger workers who want their company's values to match theirs as well as a drive for more of a work-life balance means fewer employees are feeling loyal to their employer, and are more focused to their own ambitions, even if that means job-hopping, say workplace experts. "There is much less emphasis on staying loyal and 'sticking out' for a job and much more emphasis on finding a job that matches workers' own needs and preferences," says Aaron Taylor, head of school for human resource management at Arden University, UK.
Full Story: BBC (8/16)  
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Download printable "Made with School Lunch" posters

August 18, 2023

America is Made with School Lunch. To help you promote the incredible benefits and value of school meals, SNA and the National Dairy Council (NDC) have partnered for a new educational awareness campaign with plenty of resources and tools, including a brand-new video that debuted to acclaim at SNA's Annual National Conference in July. Don't miss the five downloadable posters available in both English and Spanish, ready to be printed and displayed in your cafeteria and school. Bookmark the webpage -- more videos and resources will be added in the coming months.

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SNF resources from the Breakfast in the Classroom Project

August 17, 2023

Look to the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) for a wealth of resources from their years of work on the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (PBIC) project, including:
 
  • The PBIC Operations & Equipment Guide is designed to help you choose the right equipment for your breakfast after the bell program, regardless of delivery model or grade level.
  • Are you considering implementing a breakfast-after-the-bell program? SNF, along with our Partners, created filterable resources by audience or resource type -- to help you find videos, research, white papers and more. The PBIC developed these resources and tools to provide guidance for everything from menus to student activities to make your program a success.


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Pa. enacts universal school breakfasts

August 17, 2023

Pennsylvania has established the Universal Free Breakfast Program, allocating an additional $46.5 million in the state budget. The program ensures that all 1.7 million public school students in the state have access to free breakfast, leveling the playing field, addressing hunger barriers, and promoting better focus and performance in schools.
 Full Story: Trib Total Media (Tarentum, Pa.) (8/8)  
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Study shows benefits of school nutrition standards

August 17, 2023

A recent study suggests aligning K-12 nutrition standards with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans could lead to improved children's diets, lower blood pressure, reduced body mass index and potentially prevent thousands of deaths long term. However, logistical challenges related to food supply chains and labor shortages continue to pose difficulties for schools trying to implement stricter nutrition standards proposed by the USDA.
Full Story: K-12 Dive (8/15)  
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Number of children losing Medicaid since April hits 500K

August 16, 2023

The number of children who have lost Medicaid coverage since states resumed checking eligibility after COVID-19 administrative protections ended has exceeded 500,000, with 21 states documenting declines. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is taking several steps as procedural complications have made it more difficult to maintain enrollment, such as suspending coverage denials in six states and directing resources toward outreach as children return to school.
 Full Story: Bloomberg Law 
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Mass. families find relief via universal school meals

August 16, 2023

Massachusetts has become the eighth state to enact a permanent universal school meals program, ensuring that all students, regardless of household income, will continue to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge. The move aims to address household food insecurity and remove barriers to learning caused by hunger, benefiting both students and families.
 Full Story: WBUR-FM (Boston) 
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More Texas students will receive free school meals

August 16, 2023

Round Rock Independent School District students are set to benefit from expanded free and reduced-price lunch program offerings, now including free breakfast for qualifying students. This program extension, initiated by the Texas legislature, will be in effect for two years, ensuring more students have access to nutritious meals based on eligibility criteria.
 Full Story: Community Impact Newspaper (Texas) (8/15) 


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Spread the word: America is Made with School Lunch!

August 15, 2023

Join the "Made with School Lunch" movement! To champion the incredible benefits and value of school meals, SNA and the National Dairy Council (NDC) have collaborated on an educational awareness campaign, featuring a brand-new video that received rave reviews at SNA's recent Annual National Conference. Take advantage of the official social media kit, designed to inspire and inform educators, students, and the community about the positive outcomes facilitated by nutrient-rich school lunches.
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Minn. SNA conference embraces universal school meals

August 14, 2023

More than 650 school nutrition professionals gathered at the Minnesota School Nutrition Association's 66th Annual Conference, coinciding with the recent implementation of the state's new law providing free school breakfast and lunch to all students. The event highlights strategies to enhance meal options, improve nutrition and create an ideal learning environment while addressing the state's $400-million investment in the initiative.


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How schools entice students to eat lunches

August 12, 2023

Even schools that can offer free meals to all students are working to make cafeteria offerings more appealing to students. Efforts include using healthier ingredients, exploring plant-based options, offering eco-friendly packaging and addressing competition from off-campus eateries -- all with the goal of encouraging students to stay on campus and consume a nutritious meal.
 Full Story: National Public Radio (8/6) 

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$6.3M Ga. grant keeps meals free for qualified families

Aug. 8, 2023

The federal pandemic-era waivers that enabled universal school meal service have expired, but families in Georgia that qualify for reduced-price meals will not have to pay this school year due to a $6.3 million state grant. Georgia is also among 14 states that the USDA has authorized to use Medicaid data as a certification mechanism for free- and reduced-meal eligibility.
 Full Story: WSB-TV (Atlanta) (8/7) 

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Free school meals expanded in Conn. for upcoming year

Aug. 8, 2023

Eligibility for free breakfast will be extended to more than 177,243 students in roughly 114 Connecticut districts this school year and around 13,197 more students in approximately 128 districts will have access to free lunch, according to Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker. The state is using $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to enable students that qualified for reduced-price meals to receive those meals for free.


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Universal School Meals

Aug. 7, 2023

Colorado is one of 7 states offering Universal Jree Meals 
 All students in the Colorado Springs School District 11 will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch this school year. The universal meal service is available through the state's Healthy School Meals for All program.
 Full Story: KRDO-TV (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (8/4)  


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Looking for a smarter way to Smart Snack?

August 5, 2023

"Get Smart About Scratch Cooking," from SN magazine, has top tips -- straight from a school chef -- for incorporating scratch-cooking into Smart Snacks-compliant menu items. Don't forget to also check out the SNA Recipe Library for new Smart Snack recipes (use the Cuisine drop-down to filter to Smart Snack recipes only).
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States reinstate free school meals -- some permanently

August 4, 2023

Several states -- California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont -- have passed legislation to bring back free school meals for all students on a permanent basis after federal pandemic-era waivers expired. The move comes as the School Nutrition Association reports that many school districts have to raise meal prices due to inflation.
Full Story: CNBC (8/3) 
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Mass. extends free school meals

August 4, 2023

Massachusetts lawmakers passed a budget agreement, allocating $172 million to continue the pandemic-era program that offers free school meals to all K-12 students, ensuring access to essential nutrition and removing social stigma. Gov. Maura Healey is expected to sign the budget, freeing up funds for schools as they prepare to reopen in the upcoming weeks.
Full Story: Axios (8/1) 
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Download printable "Made with School Lunch" posters

August 1, 2023

The US is Made with School Lunch. To help you promote the incredible benefits and value of school meals, SNA and National Dairy Council (NDC) have partnered for a new educational awareness campaign with plenty of resources and tools, including a brand-new video that just debuted to acclaim at SNA's recent Annual National Conference. Don't miss the five downloadable posters available in both English and Spanish, ready to be printed and displayed in your cafeteria and school. Bookmark the webpage -- more videos and resources will be added in the coming months.


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High school employs students to fill staffing gaps

August 1, 2023

Wayzata High School in the Minneapolis suburbs turned to students to fill staffing gaps in the food services department, building on the success of previous student involvement in managing social media accounts. About 25 students were hired to work in the cafeteria, earning the same wage as adults and course credit while gaining valuable project management and interpersonal skills.
 Full Story: Education Week (7/28) 
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Students advocate in D.C. for school meal changes

August 1, 2023

High school and college students recently advocated in Washington, D.C., for more plant-based options in school meals. Students say they want more healthy options that reflect how they eat at home and also more environmentally-friendly options.
 Full Story: FoodNavigator (7/31)  
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Save your spot at this week's free leadership training

July 31, 2023

Make the 2023-24 school year the time when you grow personally and professionally by enhancing your leadership skills -- and you can start in August with free LEAD to Succeed™ training from the School Nutrition Foundation. Register now for two upcoming webinars ("Conflict Style Inventory" and "How Are Your Listening Habits?"). Each webinar will be held at 3 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET, so you can pick the session that works best for your schedule.
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Colo. schools launch universal meals program

July 31, 2023

Public and charter schools in Colorado, including those in Colorado Springs, are preparing to implement the "Healthy School Meals for All" program. Passed as part of Proposition FF, the initiative will provide free nutritious meals to all participating students, aiming to promote equity, reduce stigma, and improve academic performance by ensuring students are well-fed throughout the school day.


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Start listening: SNA's new podcast is here!

July 26, 2023

Hungry for the latest scoop on school nutrition? Look no further! "School Food for Thought," SNA's brand-new podcast, will keep you connected to a vibrant community of school nutrition superstars. This podcast will be your source of insights and knowledge about school nutrition, K-12 foodservice and the latest industry trends -- plus a way to earn CEUs! Start listening today on: SpotifyGoogle Podcasts, Apple Podcasts (coming soon) or on the SNA website.
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Pa. considers universal school meals

July 24, 2023

Bills introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly aim to establish a Universal School Meal Fund and provide free breakfasts and lunches for all public school students. While the effort gained momentum earlier this year, it now faces challenges as the governor's budget is dominating legislative conversations.

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N.M. signs universal school meals into law

July 24, 2023

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has officially signed into law legislation providing over $4 million to offer free, nutritious breakfast and lunch to all public school students in New Mexico. The universal meals program aims to alleviate financial burdens on families and ensure students are ready to learn without hunger as a barrier.
 Full Story: KOAT-TV (Albuquerque, N.M.) (7/24) 
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National universal school meal movement grows

July 20, 2023

Minnesota has joined five other states -- California, Maine, Colorado, New Mexico and Vermont -- in passing universal school meal legislation. The measure is part of a growing national movement to ensure all students have access to nutritious meals at school, aiming to improve student health, behavior, attendance and academic performance while ending lunch shaming and reducing the stigma associated with receiving free or reduced-price meals.
 Full Story: The 19th (7/18) 

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Read the latest SN Plus: Creative SN staff development for the win!

July 20, 2023

"Connecting the Dots," a new SN Plus article, spotlights Austin Independent School District's innovative Cafe Manager Development Days program, a series of six day-long experiences for the district's 114 cafeteria site managers. If you're looking for new ways to develop staff, this digital bonus article from School Nutrition magazine might just provide you the inspiration to try something new. Read the latest SN Plus. School Nutrition thanks the California Dried Fruit Coalition for its generous support in making this article available.
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Kan. senator advocates for whole milk in schools

July 20, 2023

Senator Roger Marshall is advocating to include whole milk in federal government programs, challenging nutritional guidelines that prioritize low-fat dairy. Marshall's efforts coincide with Congress' debate over the farm bill, with the aim to increase milk consumption and benefit dairy farmers, but faces opposition and funding challenges.

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N.C. district expands free meal access under CEP

July 20, 2023

The Wilson County Board of Education unanimously approved a plan to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students in North Carolina's Wilson County Schools, including those enrolled at the two early college high schools, using the USDA's Community Eligibility Provision. The move ensures that all students will have access to meals without charge, promoting inclusivity and eliminating the need for free or reduced lunch applications.
 Full Story: The Wilson Times (N.C.) (7/19) 

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Become an SNA subject matter expert (SME)!

July 20, 2023

SNA's professional development department is continuing to look for new subject matter experts (SMEs) in a variety of topics. By being an SNA SME, you're supporting your fellow SNA members by offering your knowledge to help develop webinars, courses, trainings, magazine article topics, media inquiries and more. At the same time, you'll be helping SNA diversify our pool of SMEs so we can ensure we're being as inclusive as possible and effectively sharing the voices of our diverse membership. To see the full list of SME topics and apply, fill out this interest form.
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N.D. moves to expand free school meals

July 20, 2023

The North Dakota state Senate voted to approve funding for free school meals for students whose families earn 200% or less than the federal poverty level. The measure initially did not pass but was later added to a larger education funding bill that was approved.
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GAO report highlights Food in Schools challenges

July 18, 2023

A new report from the Government Accountability Office reveals schools across the country experienced difficulties procuring food through the federal Food in Schools program, resulting in last-minute menu substitutions, repeated meals and delivery delays. The GAO report highlights the lack of a systematic mechanism within the USDA to identify and address issues, potentially compromising the program's objective of providing nutritious meals to students.
 Full Story: Education Week (7/17) 
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Advocates seek return of whole milk in school meals

July 17, 2024

The absence of whole milk from school cafeterias is attributed to a 2010 National School Lunch Program revision that banned whole milk to reduce childhood obesity. Lobbyists for the milk industry are now advocating for its return, supported by a bipartisan House effort and studies questioning the negative health effects of whole milk.
 Full Story: KFF Health News (7/13) 
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2022 N.C. Teacher of the Year advocates for universal meals

July 14, 2023

Leah Carper, a high-school English teacher and the 2022 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, advocates for federally funded free school meals for all students to eliminate stigma and ensure food security. As the state considers school meals in its upcoming budget, Carper recalls her personal experience of receiving reduced-price lunch and the humiliation she felt when her classmates discovered her financial situation.
Full Story: WUNC-FM (Chapel Hill, N.C.) (7/13)  
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ANC prepares school nutrition pros for universal meals

July 14, 2023

School nutrition directors from across Colorado attended the School Nutrition Association's national conference in search of new recipes, portable equipment, and shelf-ready milk to accommodate the district's increased meal demand. With the launch of the state's Healthy School Meals for All program, many Colorado districts are expecting to serve meals to more students, and they aim to change the perception of school lunch and provide nourishing options that appeal to students.
 Full Story: Colorado Public Radio
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Mich. implements "Healthy School Meals for All"

July 6, 2023

Michigan public schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to all students starting this fall, making it the fifth state in the US to implement a universal meals program. The initiative, called "Healthy School Meals for All," aims to address food insecurity and improve student concentration and performance, with advocates highlighting the elimination of stigma associated with receiving free and reduced lunch.
 Full Story: WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids, Mich.) (7/3) 
Mich. implements "Healthy School Meals for All" 
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Minn. prepares for universal school meals

July 6, 2023

A new state law in Minnesota provides free school breakfast and lunch for all students, making permanent the universal meal service that was enabled via federal waivers during the coronavirus pandemic. The program, beginning in the fall, will be funded by the state and federal government and aims to alleviate food insecurity and ensure proper nutrition for students, with Minnesota joining a few other states in taking this step.
 Full Story: WCCO-TV 
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