BACK TO SCHOOL Seize the “Night”! Beginning this month, students in some parts of the country are strapping on their backpacks and climbing onto the school bus—and that means back-to-school night is just around the corner. If you don’t already take advantage of this event to introduce parents to the school nutrition department and show them all the great things your staff does on a daily basis, then it’s high time to get involved. There’s no guidebook for the “right” way to represent the department on this occasion, giving you full creativity to find ways to make a positive—and lasting—impression of school meals and your team. First, why should you participate in these school-based evening activities? To start, this is your best chance to discuss nutrition, portion sizes, allergies, finances and other important facets of the school meal program—and to do so when you’re not in the middle of a busy service period during the day. Clarifying meal payment options is a particularly beneficial use of this time. “It is an excellent opportunity for us to talk about the great meal service options we provide, as well as features such as online payments and account monitoring,” says Linette Dodson, PhD, RD, LD, SNS, director of School Nutrition, Carrollton City (Ga.) Schools. Some directors even report seeing an immediate increase in revenue following back-to-school-night activities! “[Being involved in back-to-school night] increases participation in the program and, as a result, increases revenue right from the beginning,” notes Gail Koutroubas, director of Food and Nutrition Services, Andover, (Mass.) Public Schools. Some districts also use these events to collect applications for free/reduced meals. These occasions are a terrific opportunity to address negative misperceptions and stigma about school meals. At schools in Carrollton City, the cafeteria manager and assistant staff stations and answer questions. In Andover, Koutroubas’ department provides samples from the lunch menu. In the Hickman Mills (Mo.) School District, former Foodservice Director Leah Schmidt, SNS, an SNA Past President, made her team available to discuss menu options and work with the nursing staff to assist families who have children with food allergies. In all three of these school districts, menus and nutrition education materials are provided for the parents to take home. By being present at back-to-school-night activities, school nutrition departments can leave area parents with a positive first impression. Negative associations with school meals can be changed at the outset and you can foster parent partnerships that will pay off throughout the entire year. AMERICA’S TREASURES Park Service Readies to Mark Centennial From the picturesque sea views of Campobello Island International Park in northern Maine to the rocky coastline of Cabrillo National Monument in southern California, the 84 million acres of America’s 407 national parks provide places of peace and wonder for both U.S. citizens and foreign tourists. On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) turns 100—which means that this month kicks off its centennial celebration. NPS and the National Park Foundation are working with allied organizations across the United States to use this historic milestone to encourage Americans to embrace, explore and be inspired by the national parks near their hometowns. What natural wonders await you within a day’s or weekend’s drive? What awe-inspiring sites are worth a summer vacation visit? Check out www.findyourpark.com and use the social media hashtag #FindYourPark to discover your next destination. In the meantime, in honor of the NPS centennial year, check out a few fun facts about America’s natural treasures: ■ The oldest protected area in the National Park System is Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, which was first protected by Congress in 1832 and became a national park in 1921. ■ Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming features 300 waterfalls and an active volcano. ■ The total 84 million acreage under the administration of the NPS is roughly the same size as Germany. ■ Delaware is the only state without a national park. ■ The largest national park, covering 13.2 million acres, is Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which is larger than Switzerland. ■ NPS administers several types of protected areas, not only national parks designated to conserve their rugged beauty, but also most national monuments, which protect places of natural significance (such as Devil’s Tower in Wyoming), as well as historical sites (such as Aztec ruins in New Mexico or Fort McHenry in Maryland, which inspired our national anthem). For more information about NPS, including where to find an official national park in your state (unless you’re in Delaware!) visit www.nps.gov. SUMMER MEALS Summer Lifeline for Hungry Kids With Summer 2015 winding down, analysts look back at the previous year to discover that more than 3.2 million children participated in summer nutrition programs (the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option and the Summer Food Service Program) in July 2014. This represents a total of 1 in 6 low-income children. A study from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) indicates significant progress in reaching a higher proportion of children in need, but also shows how much more work communities must do to serve hungry kids when school is out. In its annual report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, released in June, FRAC measured the success of summer nutrition programs at the national and state levels by comparing the number of children receiving summer meals to the number of low-income children receiving school lunch during the regular school year. Results showed an increase of 7.3% of low-income students eating summer meals when compared to 2013 figures. An even more encouraging finding is that 42 states increased participation in these programs, with 18 states growing participation by more than 10%. USDA set an ambitious goal to provide 10 million more summer meals in 2014 than in 2013. Comprehensive outreach, improved policies and expanded partnerships with national, state and local stakeholders all contributed to USDA surpassing its goal, providing 11 million more meals during Summer 2014 than in 2013. Still, many sites do not operate through the full length of the summer vacation, and 5 of 6 low-income children continue to be at risk for hunger and malnutrition when school is out. If every state had reached the goal of 40 children participating in summer meals for every 100 receiving free/reduced-price lunch during SY 2013-14, an additional 4.7 million children would have been fed—and states would have collected $360 million in available federal funding (in July 2014 alone) that was left on the proverbial table. FRAC offers suggestions for boosting summer support through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process. To view these and the full findings of the report, visit www.frac.org/pdf/2015_summer_nutrition_report.pdf. HEALTHY MEALS Ideas for Guilt-Free BBQ Sides The dog days of summer are here, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and good company at late-season and Labor Day barbecues, where creamy, cheesy and less-than-healthy dishes often accompany your burgers and brats. Must you choose to go without or suffer the consequences? With a little creative preparation and compromise, you can enjoy variations of traditional side dishes without feeling guilty! ■ If you truly desire the creamy texture of traditional mayo-or sour cream-based salads, substitute Greek yogurt instead. You’ll be shocked at how similar it tastes! Given that even “light” mayonnaise contains more than three times the calories and 11 times the fat of Greek yogurt, how can you not even give it a try? ■ How can you improve the nutrition profile of potato salad? Go international and make German potato salad. Most recipes use an olive oil-and apple cider-based dressing, seasoned up with dill, scallions and toasted caraway seeds. ■ Skip the potato or pasta salad and instead, assemble a bright, summer-y caprese salad instead. This flavorful dish is just right for those watching their carbohydrate intake. It combines fresh tomatoes—which, in August, are in season in most parts of the country—with creamy mozzarella, basil and a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Don’t forget to sprinkle some salt and pepper on top! ■ Take advantage of another summer staple: sweet corn. Mix it with black beans, finely chopped red onion, lime juice, red bell pepper and cilantro for a south-of-the-border side dish that’s packed with nutrients. The approaching end of swimsuit season doesn’t mean you should slack on healthy eating efforts. For more healthy takes on barbecue side dishes, visit http://tinyurl.com/healthybbqsides, where you’ll find ideas suggested by registered dietitians. FUN PROMOTIONS Lefties, Unite! Southpaw solidarity gets its moment in the sun every August. Those who use your left hand for writing, throwing and other activities, you already know that you’re in the minority—just 1 of 10 people are left-handed. But it’s your turn to celebrate your unique characteristic on International Left Handers Day, Thursday, August 13, 2015. Scientists don’t fully know why 10% of people across the globe naturally favor their left hand—nor do they understand those who are ambidextrous, an even smaller minority who can use both hands with equal ability and who make up less than 1% of the population. However, recent research confirms that genes likely play a role; one study found that the chances of two left-handed parents having a left-handed child hovers around 25%. Additionally, a gene discovered in 2007 occurs in lefties with greater frequency; not such great news, given that it’s associated with schizophrenia. Generations have faced discrimination in penmanship class, with household tools and through an association with the “sinister side.” But lefties shouldn’t despair! Southpaws often have a higher IQ and artistic giftedness than righties, and four out of the last seven U.S. presidents have been lefties, including President Barack Obama. School Nutrition Editor Patty Fitzgerald is also counted among their ranks! Interestingly, humans aren’t the only animals who favor one hand over the other. Many mammals, including dogs, tend to choose one “hand” (paw) to use more frequently. However, this distinction isn’t quite as pronounced in other species as it is in humans. You can use Left Handers Day as the foundation for an atypical cafeteria promotion. Bestow a treat, a ribbon or small giveaway on left-handed customers. Post fun facts on menus or along the serving line. If you have a mobile serving line, reverse the direction just for one day. Visit www.lefthandersday.com for more fun facts that may inspire your creative ideas. NutrıNET Atlas Obscura www.atlasobscura.com Explore many of the odd, eccentric and downright fascinating places of the Earth, whether it’s an old Estonian mine, the house where John Wilkes Booth planned Lincoln’s murder or a Mexican “mega-library.” Search categories and/or geographic areas to make the most of your next vacation. USDA Food Safety www.youtube.com/user/USDAFoodSafety USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has a YouTube channel with a variety of helpful videos for you and your team—and to share with families in your community. Learn safe food preparation and handling steps in a variety of settings. Videos range from 30 seconds to 15+ minutes and many are also available in Spanish. King Arthur Flour www.kingarthurflour.com Learn tips and techniques from the baking pros at King Arthur Flour. The website includes a free bread-making program for kids, baking skills videos and a wide array of recipes, including those using whole-wheat and other whole-grain flours. Calendar15 Aug15 AUG. 8-10 Third Annual Farm to Table International Conference, SoFAB Institute and The LSU AgCenter New Orleans; http://f2t-int.com AUG. 8-11 Annual Meeting & Exposition, American Society of Association Executives Detroit; www.asaeannualmeeting.org AUG. 19-21 2014 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Public Health Information Coalition Atlanta; www.cdc.gov/nchcmm Sept15 SEPT. 15-18 International Dairy Show 2015, International Dairy Foods Association Chicago; www.dairyshow.com SEPT. 23-25 2015 Fall Conference, Commercial Food Equipment Service Association Boston; www.cfesa.com SEPT. 28-30 Washington Public Policy Conference, United Fresh Produce Association Washington, D.C.; www.unitedfresh.org Oct15 OCT. 1-3 2015 NEDA Conference, National Eating Disorders Association San Diego; www.nationaleatingdisorders.org OCT. 3-6 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nashville, Tenn.; www.eatrightfnce.org OCT. 10-13 NFRA Convention, National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association Dallas; www.nfraweb.org OCT. 15-17 2015 School Health Conference, American School Health Association Orlando; www.ashaweb.org OCT. 23-26 Annual Meetings & Expo, Association of School Business Officials International Grapevine, Texas; www.asbointl.org OCT. 26-28 24th Annual Child Care Food Program Roundtable Conference Los Angeles; www.ccfproundtable.org/ DateBOOK August American Adventures Month Children’s Vision and Learning Month National Back-to-School Month Elvis Week (Aug. 8-16) PGA Championship (Aug. 13-16) Neil Armstrong’s Birthday (Aug. 5) National Mustard Day (Aug. 5) Lucille Ball’s Birthday (Aug. 6) International Youth Day (Aug. 12) Annie Oakley’s Birthday (Aug. 13) Coco Chanel’s Birthday (Aug. 19) Little League Baseball World Series Begins (Aug. 20) Poet’s Day (Aug. 21) Mother Teresa’s Birthday (Aug. 26) 1963 March on Washington and “I Have a Dream” Speech Anniversary (Aug. 28) September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month College Savings Month Library Card Sign-Up Month National Chicken Month National Mushroom Month National Potato Month National Rice Month National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) Labor Day (Sept. 7) Patriot Day/9-11 Anniversary (Sept. 11) National Grandparents’ Day (Sept. 13) Roald Dahl’s Birthday (Sept. 13) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone (Sept. 16) First Day of Fall (Sept. 23) Jim Henson’s Birthday (Sept. 24) Family Health and Fitness Day (Sept. 26) World School Milk Day (Sept. 30) October Breast Cancer Awareness Month Health Literacy Month National Book Month National Domestic Violence Awareness Month National Pizza Month National Seafood Month Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10) National Food Bank Week (Oct. 12-18) Enter to WIN Crazy for Cranberries Congratulations to the winners of the Cranberry Marketing Committee USA’s second annual school foodservice recipe contest. This year, the contest was open to competitors nationwide. The $2,000 grand-prize winner was Danny Avenel (pictured), chef manager, Porter-Gaud School, Charleston, S.C., for his Cranberry, Kale and Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano and Duck Tacos with Cranberry Chipotle Sour Cream. In the breakfast category James Patterson, director of Dining Services, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, Conn., was recognized for his Cranberry Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Egg. In the lunch category, Chef Manager Brandon Adams of Trinity Episcopal School, New Orleans, was honored for Bayou Cranberry Crab Cakes. Jeremy Dmyterko, executive chef, St. Luke’s School, New Canaan, Conn., was recognized in the snack category for a Cranberry and Roasted Beet Hummus. Last, in the grilling/summer category, Scott Iwanicki, executive chef, The Ethel Walk School, Simsbury, Conn., earned honors for his Grilled Spicy Cranberry Pesto Shrimp over Curried Israeli Couscous with Mango and Dried Cranberries. For more information about the Cranberry Marketing Committee USA, visit www.uscranberries.com. Got Milk (Cartons)? What to do with all the empty milk cartons at the end of a busy cafeteria lunch service? Enter the Made by Milk 2015 Carton Construction Contest! This year’s theme is “animals.” Working with a class or other group of students, start collecting thoroughly rinsed cartons on the first day of school. Decide your design, build your creation and enter it by November 18, 2015. Your student team could win up to $5,000 to fund school and community projects. In another event sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, the inaugural semester of the Carton to Garden competition was a huge success, with more than 150 creative entries from schools across the nation that repurposed milk and juice cartons to build or enhance a school garden. Winning $2,500 for their schools were Wallenpaupack South Elementary School, Newfoundland, Pa.; College, Career and Technology Academy, Pharr, Texas; Vanderlyn Elementary School, Dunwoody, Ga.; and Cordova (Tenn.) Middle School. To learn more about the Made by Milk Carton Construction Contest or to see winners from the Carton 2 Garden contest, visit www.madebymilkcontest.com. Race-Day Recipes Mondelez and NASCAR® have joined forces to sponsor the Hungry for Speed recipe contest. Share your favorite race day snack recipe featuring specific Mondelez products for the chance to win a VIP Tailgating trip to the 2015 NASCAR® Championship Weekend. Five recipes will be awarded the grand prize; the recipes must be submitted by August 30, 2015. Visit https://mondelez.promo.eprize.com/nascar15 to play the instant-win game, and then submit a photo and recipe that uses one of the following cookie or cracker products: Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter, Oreo, Ritz or Wheat Thins. Duck, Duck, Win! Not everyone cooks with duck, but if you have an original recipe featuring this protein, you could win big—up to $5,000! Enter your recipe, including a photo, that features Maple Leaf Farms Duck by August 31, 2015, and it will be judged on creativity, visual appeal and taste. You can submit up to three entries. Visit www.duckrecipecontest.com to enter or for full contest rules. Get Juiced! Create an original recipe that features Concord Foods Reconstituted Lemon Juice or Reconstituted Lime Juice in one of four categories: breakfast and brunch, desserts, entrees and salads and side dishes. The grand-prize winner will receive $500, while four first-prize winners each will earn $200. Visit www.concordfoods.com/contest. Entries must be received by August 31, 2015.
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