Fresh Bites Fall Edition 2021

Fresh Bites Fall Edition 2021

FALL 2021

NYSNA Annual Conference Back to School Tips & Resources 2021

Volume 70 Number 4 Published Quarterly

Supp Bakky





2 6 11 14 17 22 26 28 31 39 46 49 54 59 63 66 70

Super Bakery Cool Tropics Wild Mikes American Dairy Association North East NYS OGS Rich Chicks Schwans Sterling Steamer Conagra National Food Group NY Apple Association General Mills Diversified Foods Tri-State Marketing Tyson Red Gold Hershey

Back To School SALE

Conference Info Details on Pages 40-41

Back to School Articles, Tips, & Resources Pages 18-25


Farm to School Partnership Awards Page 68


Officers & Headquarters


FreshBites A NYSNA PUBLICATION Ashleigh Roche, MBA Membership & Communications Coordinator





21 Executive Park Drive Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518) 446-9061



NYSNA Mission Statement

To be the informational and professional resource for all NYSNA members who provide school meals that contribute to the improvement of the optimal health, nutrition, and education of school children to reduce food insecurity.

NYSNA 2021 Annual Conference


www.NYSchoolNutr i t

2020-2021 Board of Directors

From the Show Floor Premier

September 15

CENTRAL AREA Nique Wilson Food Service Director Wayne CSD 6200 Ontario Center Road Ontario Center, NY 14520 (315) 524-1041 EASTERN AREA Katy Headwell, RD Director of Food Services Shenendehowa CSD 970 Route 146 Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518)881-0600 x68601 NEW YORK CITY AREA Nicole Bonica Training Developer NYC Central 44-46 Vernon Blvd Long Island City, NY 11101 NORTHEAST AREA Nicole Grandjean Manager St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES 320 Mechanic St Copenhagen, NY 13626 (315) 688-4034 SOUTHERN TIER AREA Patrick Walsh, SNS School Lunch Director Broome-Tioga BOCES 1 North Loder Ave Endicott, NY 13760 (607) 766-3926 SOUTH AREA NaimWalcott School Lunch Manager Westhampton Beach UFSD 29 Lilac Rd Westhampton Beach, NY 11978 (631) 288-3800x261

SOUTHEAST AREA Debra Donleavy Director of Food & Nutrition Services Enlarged CSD of Middletown 223 Wisner Avenue Middletown, NY 10940 (845) 774-6275 WESTERN AREA


Rochester, NY Saratoga, NY Long Island, NY

October 27 October 28 November 3

PRESIDENT Sue Bell Food Service Director Wilson Central School District 374 Lake Street Wilson, NY 14172 (716) 751-9341 x139 PRESIDENT ELECT Donna Riviello Food Service Director Clyde-Savannah CSD 215 Glasgow St Clyde, NY 14433 (315)902-3060 VICE PRESIDENT Caitlin Lazarski, MS, RD, SNS Food Service Director Newburgh City CSD 124 Grand Street Newburgh, NY 12550 (845) 863-3426 SECRETARY/TREASURER Joe Kilmer, MS. ED., SDBL Regional Director of Food Services Greater Southern Tier BOCES 950 Sing Sing Road Horseheads, NY 14845 (607) 739-6360 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Jennifer Martin, MBA, CAE N 21 YS E N xe A cutive Park Drive Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518) 446-9061

Tracie Middleton, SNS Food Service Director Bolivar-Richburg CSD 100 School Street Bolivar, NY 14715 (585) 928-2561 x2902 At Large Director Bryan McCoy Food Service Supervisor Broome-Tioga BOCES 1 North Loder Ave Endicott, NY 13760 (607) 763-1216 At Large Director Sarah Keen, RD Food Service Manager Schuylerville CSD 14 Spring Street Schuylerville, NY 12871 (518) 695-3255x2290 At Large Director Megan Bates Food Service Director Guilderland CSD 8 School Road, PO Box 18 Guilderland Center, NY 12085 (518) 456-6200 At Large Director Craig Orvis, SNS Food Service Director St. Lawrence -Lewis BOCES 40 West Main St. Canton, NY 13617 (315)785-3717

Fresh Bites Winter Edition Deadline

November 10

ATTENTION INDUSTRY PARTNERS: Advertising Available! We have so much to offer within our NYSNA Media Kit! ✓ Interactive Advertisements in Fresh Bites ✓ NYSNA Website Advertising Options (Example: Banner Ads/ Commercial Spots on Homepage) ✓ #NYSNANews Segments Advertising

CLICK HERE for More Information




FALL 2021


FALL 2021

President’s Message


With the start of the 2021-22 school year comes many emotions. After all of the changes over the last year and a half I am hoping to be able to settle in to somewhat of a routine for this school year. I know for myself that would be with the students back in the district, attending school regularly. At the same time, I am glad to now have some new tools to work with. The pandemic brought about many unwanted events but at the same time was a catalyst for positive change as well. We now have online options for events. People are more aware of hygiene, as a sanitation instructor that was a big one for me and most of all we have learned to be grateful for and not take for granted things that in the past may have seemed mundane and unimportant.


SUSAN BELL President

We had a great summer at NYSNA!! The Strategic Planning Committee convened at the Headquarters office to work on the upcoming plan. The event was, once again facilitated by Tom Coté. Tom does a fantastic job of guiding us through the process, as well as keeping us on track. The members

...we have learned to be grateful for and not take for granted things that in the past may have seemed mundane and unimportant

SUSAN BELL NYSNA President Susan Bell is the Food Service Director for Wilson Central School District, located in Wilson, NY! She has been in Child Nutrition for 23 years and loves school meals. Sue’s goal is to make the Association inclusive to everyone! NY is full of amazing Child Nutrition personnel and they can always turn to NYSNA for all of their School Nutrition needs. that were present and did an incredible job were Joe Kilmer, Craig Orvis, Artie Frego, Diana McCarthy, Tracie Middleton, Donna Riviello, Caitlin Lazarski, Brian Mccoy, Debra Donleavy, Naim Walcott, Patrick Walsh, Katy Headwell, Deb Mackey, Jeffrey Bradt, Megan Bates and the headquarters staff. Thank you to each of them for committing to do this. I feel we were able to put together a strategic plan that we can be proud of and that will move us into the coming years as a stronger and even better association. I was so excited to be able to have this meeting at the headquarters office. In doing so we were able to save a lot of money on everything from venue costs and meal costs, to hotel costs. This also gave us a chance to show the attending members where Jennifer, Ashleigh, Alyssa and Julia do all of that amazing work. Speaking of Julia, she is doing an incredible job as an intern at the NYSNA headquarters. It has been such a pleasure to get to know her. I am hopeful that she will want to continue with NYSNA after her internship is done. It is a bittersweet time for me. I love change, yet at the same time I will miss everything that being on the Executive Board at NYSNA brought with it. I am very confident in the fact that I will be leaving you in the extremely competent hands of your new President, Donna Riviello and her executive team of Caitlin Lazarski, Naim Walcott and Joe Kilmer. During my time as President, we were able to accomplish many things even though we were in the midst of a pandemic. NYSNA continued to grow and is being closely watched by other states as well as national groups as a strong leader in child nutrition and as an outstanding association. I strongly encourage each of you to get involved at whatever level you are comfortable with. I can assure you that you will not be sorry. I have met the most interesting, wonderful people. I have been involved in decision making and work groups that I would not have ever thought I would have been a part of. I stepped outside of what I thought was my comfort zone only to find out I really enjoyed other areas of the job. NYSNA has opened a world of possibilities for me that I would not have ventured into on my own. NYSNA gives school nutrition a much needed voice. I don’t know where our districts would be without it. Thank you so much for putting your faith in me and allowing me to be your voice. I am so excited to see what our future leaders bring to NYSNA and school nutrition. - Susan -

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FALL 2021


FALL 2021

President Elect’s Message



Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. I hope everyone was able to get some much-deserved time off over the summer months. It has been a super busy time here at NYSNA planning for the coming year. I have so much to tell you about. Back in July I had the opportunity to attend SNA’s Annual National Conference. It was different having to attend on a virtual basis. I really missed the excitement of the show floor, engaging with our industry partners and networking with colleagues across the country. One of the best takeaways from the conference, for me anyway, was the session with their opening general speaker, Ben Nemtin: See the Possibilities, Embrace the Future. Ben stressed the need for everyone to have a “resiliency tool kit” to help us in times of turbulence and uncertainty…. does that sound familiar? I know I struggled during the past two years to find time for myself; to decompress and take care of my “small stuff ”. It took a toll on me and sitting through Ben’s presentation, I was reminded of how important it is to take care of myself; take time for myself. He offered some insightful tips for tuning in to our own inspiration and finding ways to go after our dreams, our own personal bucket lists. I really enjoyed his lecture and have taken some of his suggested tips and implemented them in my life. I make it a point now to

President Elect



intentionally set aside thirty minutes of each day to reconnect with MY dreams. To slow down and become more present and be more grateful. This has helped me in the most unexpected ways. My creative juices are flowing again, and I feel so much more centered and grounded. Find a way to spend some time on just yourself, every day!!! Have you noticed all the new faces woven through the numerous NYSNA committees? What an exciting time to be a part of this great association. I had the pleasure of attending several committee meetings recently and as I sat either in the room or on the conference calls…I was so excited to see so many new faces stepping up and taking the reins to move our association forward. Headquarters staff and current board members have managed to recruit new leaders from across the state representing a nice diversity with all regions of the state represented. It was truly energizing watching all these great ideas being suggested. I can’t wait to see what new and exciting ideas come from these inspiring volunteers. NYSNA met to plan a new strategic plan to take us through the next several years as an association. It was great to be a part of such an awesome group of people planning for the future. I can’t wait to see the final draft and then to further present it to the membership. If you have never had the opportunity to be a part of strategic planning, I highly recommend getting involved either in NYSNA’s strategic planning or within your own districts, communities, etc. It is a great way to steer the course of your organization and to collaborate with diverse perspectives from across your membership. It is always an interesting and dynamic couple of days watching as our vision goes from brainstorming multiple ideas to a solid plan. Have you registered for the upcoming conference in October? What a great concept to join the virtual with the in-person opportunity for the Regional Food Shows. I will always favor in-person over virtual, but I must admit that I really enjoy having the option of tuning in to From the Show Floor for months after the original event. It makes it so convenient and easy to find the products, vendors and information I am searching for, when I need it. How great is it that we can continue with this option in conjunction with in-person opportunities to see our Industry partners and all that they have to offer. I am really looking forward to seeing some faces I haven’t seen in a while, come October. If you haven’t already registered, please do so ASAP. I hope to see you all there. I would love to hear from all of you. How are you doing in your districts? What ideas did you need to implement during COVID that you will be continuing with moving forward? I always love getting ideas from all of you. I hope to see you soon. Be well and the best of luck to you and your staff in the new school year. DONNA RIVIELLO NYSNA President Elect Donna Riviello has been a school Food Service Director for the past 11 years currently employed through Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES and working with the Clyde Savannah and North Rose - Wolcott Central School Districts. She has been a NYSNA member for all of my eleven years and she looks forward to serving this organization for the next two years as the current President Elect and future President. - Donna -

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IN THE NEWS As always, Ashleigh & Alyssa are here for YOU! Be sure to tune in! Videos are on social media and on our website. RECENT EPISODES Tips & Resources If you find the picture of Ashleigh and Alyssa in all 3 issues this year - spring, summer, & fall - you will be entered into a grand prize drawing to win a Free 2021 Conference Registration!!




FALL 2021


FALL 2021

HEADQUARTERS Executive Director’s Message Dear NYSNA Members, As you jump into the new school year that is filled with more unprecedented challenges, know that we are thinking of you and hoping to help support you in any way that we can. The summer came and went so quickly, but there is a lot to share with you. First, I hope you were able to check out the special edition of Fresh Bites that was all about the NY 30% Incentive Program! Although last year threw a wrench into the Farm to School movement, we partnered up with Cornell University to put together a resource guide featuring articles, videos, podcasts, and more to help districts achieve the 30%. If you did miss it, CLICK HERE to check it out! This summer our association leaders came together for NYSNA’s strategic planning session. Your leaders worked very hard for three days to help develop the association’s direction for the next few years. We are really looking forward to unveiling the new plan this fall and will be actively recruiting for committee members and new task forces to be able to implement items in the new plan – so be on the lookout for Committee Interest Forms! There is so much information in this edition of Fresh Bites – including some fun Back-to-School resources! Read about tips from various directors around the state to help market your programs and for some staff motivation. There are also ways you can connect with our industry partners for additional support this school year, and various social media communities you may join for beneficial networking as well. Sometimes you may just need to vent, and other times you may be looking to be inspired – and that connection and networking is what makes this industry great.

NYSNA Executive Director


I am excited for you to “meet” our NYSNA Intern, Julia Alotta and to hear some of the podcasts she has done (see the Farm to School section). Julia has brought a new perspective, and a new skillset to our HQ team and we are really looking forward to seeing her passion for school nutrition continue to evolve. Julia has a special interest in advocacy and helping our members promote their programs internally and to the public. Thank you to the 2021 Conference Committee for creating our hybrid event this year. The pandemic may have disrupted our traditional conference, but this amazing group of volunteers has taken those lemons and created some delicious lemonade for you. Be sure to check out the digital platform, From the Show Floor, which has On Demand programs featuring REMARKABLE speakers – and not to mention AMAZING industry partners showcasing their products and services in such a creative and clever way. We also took our traditional regional industry seminars and moved them from December to October for you as well. So, you are getting the best of both worlds – digital AND in person opportunities - you do NOT want to miss this! Also happening this fall is the NorthEast Leadership Conference (NELC). As you may know, NYSNA is an affiliate of the national School Nutrition Association, and our state is part of the northeast region of the country. Something interesting that you may not know is that each year the association leaders of each of the 8 states in our region get together for a leadership conference with programs that focus on association leadership development – and this year it is New York’s turn to host! We are so incredibly excited to welcome the region’s leaders to our amazing state, as this event allows us to learn from our neighbors and to share information about NYSNA’s remarkable members as well. Speaking of programs, be sure to learn about the LEAD to Succeed program available through SNA: If your back-to-school experience includes challenging conversations with stakeholders like your superintendent, your CFO, your parents, and even your students, don’t miss out on the first modul of School Nutrition Foundation ’s new LEAD to Succeed™ program. This training was designed specifically for school nutrition professionals. LEAD to Succeed™ Module 1: “LEARN to Master Difficult Conversations” will help you communicate effectively with stakeholders— administrators, vendors, school staff, parents—as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just a reminder about National School Lunch Week coming up October 11-15 – be sure to share pictures with Ashleigh to post on our social media so we can all see the wonderful promotions all around the state. And lastly, I want to take a moment and give a huge THANK YOU to our president, Sue Bell. What a crazy year to be president of an association! I know that this was a difficult year to be traditionally “visible” because we did not have an opportunity to see our members and connect with everyone in person, but that does not mean that our association stopped working (if anything, we probably kept you busier than usual). Thank you for your leadership and dedication to this association and its members. Despite the challenges created by the pandemic you still steered this association flawlessly. Your passion kept your board engaged and inspired and we thank you for your service - you are a class act Sue Bell. Best wishes for a great school year. - Jennifer - JENNIFER MARTIN, MBA, CAE Jennifer has been in association management since 2011 and the Executive Director of NYSNA since 2014. Prior to working for NYSNA she was the Executive Director of the NYS Builders Association Research & Education Foundation. She is a national 40 under 40 award winner, an amazing talent scout and an expert in the areas of administration, governance, iced coffee, and Harry Potter. Her keys to success can be summarized by the following phrases: “Work smarter, not harder;” “Be intentional;” and “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”. • 3 hours of self-paced online learning worth three (3) CEUs! • A Facilitator Guide brings the training to life in group settings • Supported by a $2m U.S.D.A. grant • Created in partnership with Georgetown University McDonough School of Business









FALL 2021

Meet the Intern




JULIA ALOTTA Julia is currently a student at the University at Albany working towards a degree in public administration with a concentration in non- profit management. She received her undergraduate degree from the University at Albany last December with a double major in public policy and public health and is expected to graduate with her master’s degree in May 2022. Julia’s goal is to continue to work in school nutrition until every single child has access to healthy and nutritious meals. The sky is the limit! NYSNA Intern source food from a local farmer, they could just pick the apples themselves and put it on the student’s plates. It was mind blowing to realize the documentation that goes into selecting every food item. I also had no idea the role of Food Service Directors—growing up I thought the lunch lady who would check my lunch ticket was running the whole show. Moral of the story, I have learned that food service is all about teamwork. As one of my intern projects, I have had the opportunity to host podcast interviews with Food Service Directors across the state to discuss their NY 30% Incentive program or Farm to School Programs. All of the conversations I had really enlightened me about how fresh food arrives on the students’ plates. From discussions about marketing a school lunch program to which menu item was the most popular, I am better able to understand how crucial school meals are. More importantly, this information is being used in this fall edition of Fresh Bites, to help encourage more Food Service Directors to participate in these programs. This has been so impactful for me as the amount of information I have learned is endless and I feel I am stepping towards reaching my goals. One of the main aspects of working for NYSNA that I love is that there is no wrong answer. All creative ideas are welcome because those are the ones that help solve problems. Everyone in this field and at HQ has been extremely welcoming and encouraging of my goals. If there is anything I have learned about myself, it is the importance of speaking up because you never know if your one comment can change the trajectory of a decision. In closing, I am really looking forward to learning more about this industry and getting to know all of you amazing members! - Julia - Hi School Nutrition Professionals! My name is Julia Alotta and I have been the intern at NYSNA for a little over two months while working towards my master’s in public administration. I found this internship the best way I knew how, and that was using Google! After searching for key words like “nutrition” “school food” and “child nutrition” I came across the NY School Nutrition Association. I then decided to reach out and give them a call myself. When Jennifer answered the phone, we talked about how she was looking for a part time employee and how I needed internship hours. We scheduled an interview, she met with me, and the rest is history. The key words that I typed into Google were not on accident - those words are paramount to my passion. I have always been interested in health and wellness. Quite honestly, I eat, sleep, and breathe those words. I truly believe that everything we eat has a profound effect on our physical and mental well-being. The importance of child nutrition resonated with me when I went to visit a cafeteria at a local school district in the Capital Region. The cafeteria was filled with elementary students ranging in ages 5-10 years old and I remember seeing multiple students not eating their lunch and just throwing it out. Two thoughts ran through my head - either they are not hungry, or they do not like the food. Given the data about the district, it was obvious that for some students those school meals are probably the only guaranteed meals they will receive all day. And if they are not eating the school food, they are less likely to be able to focus in class - as we all know, hungry children can’t learn. Long story short, it is my life’s goal to make sure all students receive the most nutritious meals in school to help set them up for success in and outside the classroom. Thankfully, NYSNA’s mission aligns Long story short, it is my life’s goal to make sure all students receive the most nutritious meals in school to help set them up for success in and outside the classroom. with my goals, and I am grateful to have landed here for so many reasons. For starters, I did not realize how much I didn’t know about school nutrition and all its nuances. Before NYSNA, I thought if a Food Service Director wanted to JULIA ALOTTA Intern “

Have you been curious about NYSNA leadership and how to get more involved? NYSNA is always looking for future leaders and there are many ways to get engaged. Volunteering allows you to connect with other members that share your passion for the association and the industry! Consider serving on a task force or a committee – or even running for a position on the board! NYSNA is recruiting for members to serve on the following task forces and committees this year: • Awards & Scholarships Committee • Membership Committee • Public Policy & Legislation Committee • Chapter Task Force • Mentorship Task Force Serving on the NYSNA Board of Directors or a Committee Benefits Your School District! When a school nutrition professional from your district serves as a Board Member or on a committee for the New York School Nutrition Association (NYSNA), there are tremendous benefits for the district. Leadership participation in a state professional association helps employees improve their skills and stay on the cutting edge of information in their profession. They use these opportunities to be better managers of the challenges and opportunities in their district. We have seen professionals succeed in their state responsibilities in exciting ways that have brought multiple benefits to the district. BENEFITS TO THE DISTRICT: ▪Best practices in school nutrition from around the state/country are brought back to the district ▪State, and even National attention is brought to the district as many of the school nutrition professionals interact with the media and national allied organizations. ▪District programs and accomplishments often receive statewide recognition.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The spring election will have to the following positions on the ballot: • Vice President • Northeast Area Director • Southeast Area Director • Southern Tier Area Director • Western Area Director • At Large Directors (2) Be on the lookout for nomination information and contact Headquarters for more information!

BENEFITS TO THE SCHOOL NUTRITION PROFESSIONAL: • Develops and strengthens leadership skills • Improves public speaking skills through spokesperson training • Improves critical thinking skills through national policy work • Improves project management skills through committee management responsibilities • Improves understanding of budgeting and financial management practices • Mentors future leadership talent BENEFITS TO THE DISTRICT’S SCHOOL NUTRITION SERVICES STAFF: • It is an opportunity for the staff as they “stretch” during a candidate’s absence, learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge. • Best practices and solutions to challenges developed by other school nutrition professionals are brought back to them by their supervisor/ colleague.



FALL 2021



Social Media Channels

Interested in Joining some Facebook Communities? There are SO many school nutrition professionals sharing information from all across the country. Get in on the conversation! New York School Nutrition Association Membership Page

School Nutrition Masterminds

Tips for School Meals that Rock

School Nutrition Collaborative

School Nutrition Professionals

Job Posting Looking for a Job in School Nutrition? Did you know that NYSNA has a job board on the website? We are contacted by districts all across the state throughout the year and we share the information right here. Click Here for more information!

Social-ize Your Marketing Excerpt from School Nutrition Magazine, Vol. 75, Number 6, Page 69

The social media pages of many school nutrition programs saw a huge uptick in parent engagement while students were learning from home. Even once students are back in school buildings, make an effort to create and post social media content that will catch parents’ attention. Top tips from school nutrition operators include: ✓ Polls and surveys

FALL 2021 ✓ Collaborations with local restaurants/chefs ✓ Community partnerships and outreach activities (e.g. food bank distribution during school lunch service) ✓ Photos of costume/themed activities featuring your team members, as well as student customers ✓ If your school nutrition department has its own, separate social media presence, ask your district to highlight/share your posts once a week on its channel(s) ✓ Be responsive by liking comments and replying to questions or concerns; even negative feedback can be addressed by requesting to “continue the conversation offline”

FreshBites ✓ Photos of their kids (make sure you have signed releases!) ✓ Local foods and the area farms (and farmers) ✓ Favorite school meal recipes scaled for home cooking ✓ “How-to” videos for at-home meal kits or recipes

NYSNA Ad 8.5x11_OL.indd 1

7/28/21 12:01 PM




FALL 2021

It’s time to plan your SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS!

RE I HATY HBT wt feh fut & Vgetbe SIGN UP TODAY



October 1 International Vegeterian Day October 4 National Taco Day October 15 Global Handwashing Day October 20 International Chefs Day National Farm to School Month National Apple Month Global Diversity Awareness Month National Pizza Month

November 2 Cookie Monster Day November 4 Diwali - The Hindu Festival of Lights

September 6 Labor Day September 12 National Grandparents’ Day September 13 National Celiac Awareness Day September 26 Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday September 29 World School Milk Day National Food Safety Education Month National Hispanic Heritage Month National Potato Month

November 13-21 Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 25 Thanksgiving Day

National Career Development Month National Native American Heritage Month National Pepper Month

Use your USDA Foods Entitlement on the USDA DOD Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

Serve your growing minds fresh, seasonal produce such as Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Mandarin Oranges, Cucumbers, Grapefruit, Red Onions, Celery, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, and Tomatoes |

NYSNA Executive Director




FALL 2021


FALL 2021




Back to

“There are creative ways to offer meals! When everything shut down, we wondered how we were going to offer meals, how to continue Farm to School, etc. andwith a diverse team, we figured out solutions! Just like many districts across the country, we offered meals in any way we could, and we continued our Farm to School efforts by using local NY food. We just changed how it was prepared or packaged.” “We began serving breakfast in the classroom and it was a huge success! We are going to continue doing it this year. Our participation jumped from about 20% to over 95%!!” “Like most districts we were pre-portioning all items to minimize high-touch areas. While we hope to return to self-service for some items, others will stay portioned. Veggie sticks, cubed melon, and grapes flew off our shelves simply by putting them in a tall plastic cup with a lid! We learned it’s worth a little experimentation to discover what your students prefer, especially if it means they’ll eat more veggies!” How have you been able to Inspire or motivate your staff? “By continuing to reiterate how important it is for families to have access to food during a crisis and sharing with them the feedback from the community and from parents.” “I stood right by my staff every step of the way. There was not a single thing that I asked my staff to do that I would not have done myself. They watched our program take on the monumental task of preparing and delivering meals to over 600 students at one time and succeed at that feat. Showing them that we could do anything with planning and hard work made them feel inspired to get through the year!” “I learned that Pizza Hut Corp told local franchises to choose one organization a month to honor, so I am working with our local Pizza Hut to honor the staff in September.” “Create an active work environment by encouraging movement, like Workout Wednesdays!”

“Play upbeat music to create a fun work environment. Find the good in every day. What about today made you smile?”

As School Nutrition Professionals enter another unpredictable school year, we asked food service directors from all across the state to share some of their tips and best practices with their fellow operators! What are the best ways to successfully market your programs? Social Media! “A positive social media presence to engage with both students and families can showcase all the great things that you are doing in your program. Sometimes marketing to their parents creates more success than to the actual students.” “Build anticipation by releasing snippets of information about a new item or recipe” “Leverage social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to get the word out about free school meals, farm to school, and other school nutrition related information.” Networking! “Get involved with other members of the school community (Teachers, Coaches, Nurses, etc.) to help promote your programs and increase participation. Students often relate to a teacher or coach, value their input and often see them as a role model.” “I work with my Public Information Officer a lot to get our message/information out to the community. We are also present at PTA meetings and other school functions.” Students! “Have some Q&A with the student government. Have some student cooking contests – students get involved and tell their friends!” “Students love sampling and freebies… Try it, you will love it.”

What is a lesson learned, or a change that you made during COVID-19 that you will be keeping going forward? “We are more flexible than we know, and we can adapt easier than any other department and we have the most passionate employees!” “COVID allowed me to move a lot of our in-house processes that we were doing in an antiquated way into the new digital age. We were able to make lunch ordering across all levels of the district simple and easy.” “We are continuing to have our middle and high school students pre-order their deli sandwich in the morning. They choose if they want a fruit or vegetable and their drink. It is a little more work in the morning, but a blessing at lunch times.” “Be Mobile. If items are stored on pallets or speed racks it is easier to move to a new location if there is a last-minute change. Set up the storage rooms /cold storage areas to replicate the meal pattern. If you run out of a fruit item, go to the fruit aisle, and replace it with any other available fruit i “ t I e o m ff . e ” red grab and go breakfast and snacks at the entrances and exits, and this increased my participation in both of those programs, especially breakfast. I think kids do want to eat breakfast, but they are just so pressed for time in the morning that it was convenient for them to grab their breakfast in a bag and head to class.” “Breakfast in the classroom at all levels. Now that the teachers have been doing it for the past year and half, I am going to push to keep it.” “More grab and go items. We realized that the students have such limited time, and this helps them take the meal and go right to their classes.”

“Dailymeetings to touchbasewithkeyplayers and keep them engaged in the loop of communication. Team shout-outs!” “Keep a positive attitude and keep your team informed of what is going on. Sometimes as directors, we don’t know what is going on until the last minute, but sharing that information as soon as possible always helps.” “We started a Golden Spoon Award to recognize our school nutrition professionals who were doing incredible work during the pandemic. This award created a lot of buzz in the districts and was a great way to motivate staff. Winners were recognized on social media, in the school district, and received a golden spoon and certificate!” “I like to set out a vision of who we are. What we do and the implications of doing it well.” “We spend more time with the people we work with throughout the school year than our families, so it is important to make the most of it. Feeding our children has a value that is bigger than the individual and is honorable. It’s a gift to work with children, feed children and be together in this experience. When we take the 40,000ft view of what we do we get to see the potential ripples we can make in the lives of those around us and those we serve.”




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FALL 2021



5 Ways to Add Whole Grain-Rich Foods to Your Back-to-School Menus

Attention Operators!

Develop New Recipes with Local Whole Grains Montana’s Office of Public Instruction is developing a recipe featuring Montana-grown barley as part of a Fiscal Year 2021 Team Nutrition Training Grant. They held a statewide recipe contest and the Bison and Barley Soup recipe was a clear winner. The recipe was taste tested with students, receiving high approval rates, and will be standardized for school meals soon! Start the Day with Whole Grains Add variety to your breakfast meal service with different whole grain-rich options. Feature items made with oats like Fruity Oatmeal and Oatmeal Muffin Squares. Switch it up with breads made with whole-wheat flour like these Baking Powder Biscuits and Pancakes. Don’t forget to try some whole grain- rich tortillas, which are used in this Breakfast Burrito recipe! Do you have a success story to share? Share it on Twitter and tag @TeamNutrition. Team Nutrition USDA Share your activities with us on Twitter @ TeamNutrition using the hashtag #TeamNutrition or by emailing us at USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. 4 5

Make Whole Grains a Food Education Experience Promote local whole-grain menu offerings with educational activities and visits with local farmers. Use the Whole World of Whole Grains section of the Team Nutrition Popular Events Idea Booklet to find ways to introduce students to a variety of whole grains as you add them to your school menus. Read more about Integrating Local Foods into Child Nutrition Programs. Use Whole Grains from USDA Foods The USDA Foods in Schools Program has many whole grain-rich items for school meals. The frozen whole grain-rich tortillas make great grab n’ go sandwich wraps. Be sure to thaw the tortillas completely to prevent breaking when assembling the wraps. Try them to make this popular Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap recipe. See the full list of USDA Foods Available for School Year 2021-2022. Try New Whole Grain-Rich Products Consider adding a new whole grain-rich food to your menu, based on feedback from students. Use the Exhibit A Grains Tool in the Food Buying Guide to determine the grains contribution of the new item and how much to serve to meet meal pattern requirements. Learn more by watching the How to Maximize the Exhibit A Grains Tool! training video (now available with captioning in Spanish). 3 1 2

• Provide training on products, including the best techniques for them • Provide training to get CEUs to meet USDA requirements Did you know that our Industry Partners can assist you during the school year in a variety of ways? We want to encourage you to connect with our partners, because their knowledge and support is beneficial and valuable to assist you and your programs ALL YEAR LONG! Here are just some examples of how Industry Partners can help you during the school year: • Assist with Student Taste Tests – samples/surveys for students for new menu items • Recipes, Menu Concepts, Industry Trends, Bids, USDA updates, new product info • Commodities – they are a resource for directors to unlocking this commodity puzzle • We can help send distributors information about new items that you would like to purchase. Keep us in the loop to ensure that orders are placed for any new items you’re looking for. • We can help a director find items that are stocked at their local distributor. With many items being shorted from every manufacturer it can be helpful to have a back-up plan with alternate items. • Problem Solving – they are great at providing solutions • Give our School Heroes a Big HUG when we see them (if fully vaccinated) or a virtual hug over a teleconference call

NYSNA has a list of ALL of our Industry Partners CLICK HERE to check them out!



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We all know that good marketing is to attract customers, from the students who eat at school every day to the students who do not participate yet. We know the basics: • Serve attractive entrees • Have multiple healthy choices available • Audit the presentation of food • Have information about your program readily available • Keeping clean eating areas, etc. But are we missing a key component? The answer is yes. Successfully marketing your child nutrition program starts at home with the parents. For years there has been a stigma about child nutrition programs, and directors have worked tirelessly tomake our programs shine and to inform families that school breakfast and lunch are healthy choices that add to their child’s learning experience. So, what are some ways to inform parents of your districts Child Nutrition Program? Parent Teacher Organizations/ Parent Information Night One way to inform parents is to be available to speak in person and have information readily available for school orientations. What better way for parents to hear about your program than directly from you! Share photos of your entrees, discuss themenus, andmost importantly, talk about how healthy your meals are and the nutritional standards we need to adhere to. Take time and educate the parents on reimbursable meals so they can prepare their children before they start school about what options are available. Create a hand-out that explains this in detail. At Hilton CSD, our graduating 6th graders come in for orientation in August and we have them go through the line with their parents to feel comfortable using the pin pad. We serve them a reimbursable middle school lunch to show parents what the meals look like and what choices they have. BY SCOTT ZIOBROWSKI FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR, HILTON CSD Nutrition Program M A R K E T I N G YO U R School


For incoming kindergarten kids, we have them come through the line with their parents as well, and we make them feel comfortable coming to lunch, so they aren’t afraid the first week of school. In addition, you can educate parents on platforms like myschoolbucks, or any menu program like Nutrislice or Mealviewer, which gives parents exact nutritional and allergy information, so they feel safe having their kids eat at school. Explain the simplicity of using apps and provide themwith tips on how to use them. Many companies provide tip cards/brochures for free. One final important piece is to educate parents on cost of meals and what your nutrition program breaks down to in food costs. Use a comparison that shows families that they can save money on a meal at school as opposed to a meal coming from home, especially in this present-day economy and during times of crisis like the COVID pandemic. District Websites Make sure your district food service website is updated with current information about your program. Audit the website often so parents can be comfortable going there to see what’s new and exciting about your program. Make it easy to navigate and highlight things like Farm to School and show them your industry partners, especially local farmers. Invite them in Have parents come in for a mini food show or simply to eat lunch with their kids. What better way to market your program than to serve them a nutritious school meal! Ask some vendors to show up on Parent Teacher night and do samplings in your cafeteria. So, while it is important to market your program to the students, keep in mind who your other customers are, and utilize any tool available to your benefit. Programs like Team Nutrition from the USDA, and our own state association NYSNA, often provide trainings and point of sale material to help you market your program internally and externally.

Artisan Whole Grain Rich TrulyWhole Muscle Products

Dark Meat Products

Grilled Products

All Breast Meat Products

We can’t thank you enough for all you do!

A short message to our School Lunch Heroes

Alicia Maloney At Your Service Sales – Upstate New York 518-312-6354

Kathleen McCrosson Anity Group – Metro New York 516-616-0300

Watch More Rich Chicks Video Content on our YouTube Channel




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FALL 2021




reimbursements (compared to NSLP/SBP) through the SSO Waivers. These factors make this a strategic time tomaximize participation. Often school breakfast is a promising area of potential growth. Breakfast After the Bell models offer evidence-based best practices to increase student access to breakfast, expand participation, and further boost your bottom line. 4. Make free meals for all beyond COVID-19 Offering free meals for all is a powerful strategy to build a financially viable school nutrition program. Prior to COVID-19, CEP schools throughout NYS shifted their school meal programs from operating in the red to ending the year with a surplus. Nearly 550 of those CEP schools operate the program with direct certification rates, also known as ISPs (identified student percentages), below 60%. Contrary to popular belief, this shows that CEP can work in schools that do not qualify for 100% free reimbursement under CEP. Free meals for all boosts participation, lowers costs, eliminates meal debt, and positively impacts finances in the majority of CEP schools. 5. Provide meals beyond the school day Afterschool programs area critical part of COVID-19recovery, and providing healthy afterschool meals helpsmake themost of them. If your school currently serves afterschool snacks, consider switching to complete meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to ensure kids are fully nourished and ready to learn. Serving complete meals bolsters your nutrition programs, too; CACFP’s afterschool component reimburses $3.66/meal or $1.00/snack served to youth in eligible programs. We can help you learn more and get started. 6. Connect families with SNAP and WIC Hunger remains a persistent reality for many New Yorkers, especially families with children. As trusted messengers, schools can share information about SNAP and WIC to help ensure students and their families have consistent access to healthy food. Schools also benefit from increased SNAP participation, as a higher ISP can improve a school’s ability to adopt CEP. Use the resources below to share information about SNAP and WIC with families in your district: • SNAP Outreach for Schools Toolkit • WIC Help NY Resource Center Need help with bouncing back this school year? We are here to help! Reach out to our team of experts to help transform your school meal program from surviving to thriving. • Emily Gartenberg with No Kid Hungry New York • Krista Hesdorfer with Hunger Solutions New York • Jessica Pino-Goodspeed withHunger SolutionsNewYork

SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Education Program-Education) New York is a free, confidential nutrition program that educates people about the benefits of shopping, preparing, and eating a healthy variety of foods while on a limited budget. Our team is comprised of knowledgeable nutrition educators that provide skill-based nutrition education classes to give families the tools, tips, and tricks that help people make nutritious food choices and choose physically active lifestyles for themselves and their families. SNAP-Ed works with individuals, families, community agencies, schools, policy makers, and many more to educate, empower and support change to help make the healthy choice an easy choice for our communities. What does this mean for NYS Nutrition Association members? SNAP-Ed promotes, supports and influences community-level health where we work, live, learn and play. SNAP-Ed educators across the state are eager and ready to be a resource and partner for your school nutrition initiatives! We offer a variety of nutrition education classes specifically designed and tailored to youth, adults, and seniors on a variety of topics such as: eating more nutrient dense foods, drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, basic cooking and food safety skills, and physical activity. Our team members will come right to your local schools to offer programs. The programs can last between 20 minutes to 90 minutes and can offer food demonstrations and hands on learning. Classes can range from a one-time session or a series of classes. Some other initiatives we can partner with your school to implement are Community Obesity Prevention Programs, Farm to Worksite or Community Site, School Wellness and Smarter Lunchrooms, and Peer-led Obesity Programs. Learn More about SNAP-Ed To learn more about how SNAP-Ed can work with you or your community schools in any of these programs, visit our SNAP-Ed NY page at SNAP-Ed New York Partnerships ( . Our website also offers recipes, videos, tools, and tips, and how to find local programming based on your region or zip code, which also includes an interactive calendar of upcoming classes that are being offered. On our website under the tools and tips tab, you can download informative tip sheets or print them out to keep on hand.

SNAP- Ed Educators provide quality nutrition education for youth

FreshBites models Many schools are planning to offer free meals to all, have simplified counting and claiming, and are getting higher As we enter the third school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, school nutrition departments have faced new challenges and an environment of constant change. While this school year may look different than in years past, school meals remain a steady source of nutrition that kids and families can rely on. To help your nutrition program bounce back in the 2021-2022 school year, check out these 6 tips from Hunger Solutions New York and No Kid Hungry New York. 1. Market your program Marketing school meal programs is one of the most effective tools for increasing participation in school meals. Given that school food service may look different this year than in the past, providing clear information on school meals can help families understand and access meal programs. Check out this school meal marketing toolkit for flyers, website text, and social media posts to help advertise your meal programs. 2. Celebrate your school nutrition staff Staffing school meal programs is hard but rewarding work in typical years, but after serving meals through COVID-19, many school nutrition professionals are facing burnout and fatigue. Celebrating the contributions of school nutrition staff can go a long way in helping staff feel appreciated and ready for the next school year. A few ways to recognize staff are • : Providing small tokens of appreciate like surprise donuts, snacks, and lunch • Having leadership formally recognize staff ’s hard work • Giving staff fun team shirts or jackets to wear onsite 3. Boost participation with Breakfast After the Bell BY JESSICA PINO-GOODSPEED, KRISTA HESDORFER, AND EMILY GARTENBERG

SNAP-Ed provides

resources for many school and cafeteria projects

We have a plethora of educational and food demonstration videos to choose from on

our SNAP-ED youtube channel and website (

CLICK HERE to view a list of New York State Implementing Agencies in your area



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FALL 2021

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