SNA News

STEPS Challenge Participants: Enter to Win a Trip to Attend the Finale of The Biggest Loser!

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January 24, 2013 – STEPS Challenge participants will want to keep an eye on their email inbox next week—the STEPS Challenge online survey will be distributed to participants via email on Thursday, January 31st.

When you complete the survey, you’ll automatically be entered to win an all-expenses paid trip for two to California to attend the finale episode taping of the current season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”!

Sign up for the STEPS Challenge today!

Are you enjoying the monthly challenges? Have you found the program easy, hard or somewhere in between? Are you doing it solo or teaming up with co-workers? We want to hear from you! Your feedback will help shape year two of the STEPS Challenge.

Be sure to complete the survey so you don’t miss out on the fabulous grand prize. The survey link will be live until February 14th. Only STEPS Challenge participants are eligible to win! The grand prize includes tickets to the finale taping, airfare for two, a two-night hotel stay, and $300 spending money. For details and official rules, click here. No purchase necessary. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW.

There’s still time to register for STEPS and be eligible for the prize! To sign-up or learn more about the program, visit

SNA’s Child Nutrition Showcase: Call for Posters

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January 23, 2013 – Is there something you think your program does well? Have you recently conducted research related to school foodservice or nutrition? Show it off at SNA’s Child Nutrition Showcase Poster Session during the 2013 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, Mo., July 15-16.

The Child Nutrition Showcase is a display of posters highlighting successful practices and research in school nutrition. This is a great opportunity to draw attention to some of the things happening in your program. Posters can address topics such as:

  • menu changes
  • food safety practices
  • marketing and customer service innovations
  • nutrition education initiatives
  • environmentally friendly practices, and more!

Visit to learn more about the Child Nutrition Showcase and submit a poster proposal. The deadline to submit a poster idea is March 15, 2013. If you have any questions about the Child Nutrition Showcase, please send an email to

CNIC 2013: Exploring All the Possibilities

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January 21, 2013 – School nutrition professionals may be asked to continually do more with less, but their spirit remains undiminished, as evidenced by the passion and energy exhibited in San Antonio in mid-January during SNA’s annual Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC). Tighter budgets, new nutrition standards, aging equipment and a white-hot media spotlight—plus the usual array of daily frustrations—make school nutrition the single-most complex segment in foodservice. But for several days in San Antonio, Texas, 600+ operators and industry representatives demonstrated how they rise to meet every challenge: by working together. Truly, CNIC was a place “Where Partners Create Possibilities.”

Ross Shafer

Every aspect of CNIC 2013 was designed to motivate attendees to share their ideas, transformations and results. And with record-breaking attendance, participants showed up to make the most of the potential offered at this dynamic learning and networking event.

Author Ross Shafer kicked things off by encouraging a spirit of reinvention and relevance. Shafer urged the audience to take a fresh approach to change, transition and growth. “How do you innovate in a change environment?” he asked, suggesting an unexpected answer: “You change by UNDER-thinking.” After all, he noted, most of us are very familiar with over-thinking a problem or challenge. Under-thinking, he contends, allows us to “look at change in a different way.” The bottom line, he said in closing, is to remember that “rapport is your greatest ally, and that we can move nations if we can show an interest in people.”

Over the course of the four-day event, several lively panels took on a variety of hot topics in school nutrition. From exploring the opportunities found in today’s social media marketing approaches to examining the findings of new research from SNA and the Pew Charitable Trust, these sessions offered both provocative data and practical solutions.

CNIC 2013 featured a number of lively panel sessions with school nutrition leaders.

Less than a year has passed since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the first update to school meal nutrition standards in more than a decade. The first few months of implementation has meant both trial and triumph for operators and their industry partners. There were several formal and informal opportunities for attendees to discuss these and identify potential strategies and solutions. These included designated Industry Information Sessions, special networking breaks and a USDA-focused Networking luncheon. Indeed, opportunities for networking between operators and industry are a hallmark of CNIC. The popular Innovation Stations offered operators special advance previews of recently introduced or in-development products, services and solutions.

Dr. Janey Thornton, SNS, Deputy Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition Service, and an SNA past president, provided assurance and updates during Monday luncheon. She encouraged participants to continue to work together as other aspects of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 are implemented in the coming months. A dynamic “MyPlate Breakfast” carried on the theme of creating possibilities in response to change. The unique meal presentation was based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPlate nutrition guidance.

Personal wellness also was a focus for this year’s CNIC agenda! Attendees were encouraged to join SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS, and “Step out for Better Health” on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Groups participated in brisk 2-mile walking tours of historic San Antonio. These wellness activities supported SNA’s new personal wellness initiative the STEPS Challenge program, sponsored by Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Jackie Freiberg

Closing Keynote Speaker Jackie Freiberg, an author and leadership expert, urged participants to take the energy generated throughout CNIC to find exciting and engaging ways to innovate and create possibilities. We all have to push through the white noise and creative positive disruptions, she insisted. Be “uncomfortable” and see the opportunities for change!”

For more CNIC 2013 coverage, visit SNA’s Facebook page or its coverage on Twitter (use the hashtag #CNIC13). Additional coverage will appear in the April issue of School Nutrition magazine.

Related Links

CNIC 2013 Presentations

Culinary Competition at CNIC

School Chefs Team Up for Culinary Competition at CNIC

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January 18, 2013 – The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in San Antonio hosted a “Chopped”-style cooking competition for SNA members at the 2013 Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) this past weekend.

On Saturday, nutrition directors from school districts all over the country battled it out to prepare delicious and economical meals that meet the new meal pattern requirements. CIA chefs joined in on the fun, too – Chef Michael Katz provided a culinary demonstration, lectured participants on flavor profiles and recipe development, and gave pointers and tips.

SNA members prepared healthy meals as part of a cooking competition at the Culinary Institute of America

But before they got cooking, each of the six teams hit the local Farmers Market with $25, collecting whatever fresh ingredients they want to feature in their recipes. Some of the inventive recipes included an avocado ranch dressing, jalapeno relish, risotto fries, southwest tuna wraps, and black bean soup served in a tortilla bowl. Each team was judged on creativity, team cooperation and planning.

The winning dish? Tuna casserole, fiesta chicken salad, local greens, Arborio rice, and a pineapple & strawberry cup. Congrats to the winning team members:

  • Julia Bauscher, SNS, Jefferson County School District (Ky.)
  • JoAnne Corcoran, Sheldon Independent School District (Texas)
  • Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, Dallas (Texas) Independent School District
  • Linda Stoll, SNS, Jeffco School District (Colo.)
  • Executive Chef Robert Lafond, J.T.M Food Group

A complete recap of CNIC 2013 will be available in the April issue of School Nutrition.

Don’t Miss Out on LAC 2013 Early Bird Registration!

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January 17, 2013 – Spring into action! SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) will be here before you know it, so don’t miss the chance to save $50 off regular conference fees by registering by the early-bird deadline, Monday, January 21st. What are you waiting for? Register now via mail or online at

Although the LAC room block is sold out at the JW Marriott, we are researching additional overflow hotels and will post additional hotel information by January 23.

Join school nutrition professionals and their allies March 3-6, 2013, at the 41st annual LAC at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. LAC is your chance to share your thoughts, opinions and priorities regarding child nutrition with the lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Peer into the inner workings of the democratic process, and learn firsthand what legislative and regulatory issues the industry currently faces. You’ll also be privy to compelling commentary from political analyst and keynote speaker Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director and chief White House correspondent and the host of “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC.

Highlights of LAC 2013 include:

  • Two enriching pre-conference sessions choices, offering you the information you need to know to create or publicize healthy school nutrition options.
  • A unique opportunity to further network and build relationships with Congressional during the inaugural Hill Reception.
  • The latest information from key leaders in Congress, USDA and allied organizations, regarding the major issues facing the school nutrition industry.
  • Celebrating the dreamers and doers of child nutrition at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s A Possible Dream Gala.

To learn more about LAC 2013, visit And, don’t forget the special Early Bird registration rate deadline is January 21, 2013. Now is the time for action—don’t let the this important opportunity pass you by!

Related Links

LAC 2013

Register for LAC

GCNF’s A Possible Dream Gala

Food Trend Predictions for 2013

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January 16, 2013—Is your food fashionable? Now that we’re several weeks into 2013, let’s take a look at some of the culinary trends to watch for this year as predicted by the experts.

Children’s meals were all over the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2013 survey results. Chefs are boosting the health content of their kids’ meals, while foodies everywhere are realizing the impact of whole-grain items, as well as fruits and vegetables as side items. Perhaps correlating with that theme is the increase in gluten-free cuisine available and a burgeoning interest in non-wheat noodles, such as quinoa and rice pasta.

As the American public grows more health-aware, it’s no surprise that produce continues to be a hot conversation topic. Locally sourced and environmentally sustainable options linger on the forefront, while the folks at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have predicted that a wider assortment of greens are being used on menus. Where kale once triumphed, beet greens, chard and turnip greens are now prospering. Veggies are even showing up in desserts—carrot cake has always been a favorite, but corn, cucumbers, beets and avocadoes are now lending their tastes and textures to the sweet finale (for example, avocado ice cream).

But it’s not all about health for 2013. Experts have taken a closer look at how Americans are incorporating ethnic foods into their daily lives and have found that the younger generations are increasingly including global dishes in their list of comfort foods, according to the Food Channel 2013 Trends Forecast. Alongside macaroni and cheese and pot roast, dishes such as Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho as regarded as comfort food, too. Ethnic inspiration is frequently showing up in breakfast items, too, in items such as chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes. In the same vein, McCormick has upped the ante with a range of unexpected flavor trends, including combining global flavors in unpredictable ways—Japanese Katsu sauce with oregano, for example.

If the latest trend forecast has made you realize that your recipes are so 2012, don’t worry—you have nine months left to get in vogue before the experts shake things up again.

For additional information from these trend reports, see the following websites.

Related Links

National Restaurant Association, What’s Hot in 2013

“Healthy, casual food trends ahead,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Food Channel 2013 Trends Forecast

McCormick Flavor Forecast® 2013

Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow Applications Available

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January 11, 2013 – Will you be the first Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) this year?

Established in honor of Josephine Martin and her extraordinary contributions to child nutrition, the Josephine Martin Endowment Fund at the School Nutrition Foundation has opened the application page for the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow at LAC. 

One recipient will receive funding to attend LAC for the first time in March 2013. If you have a passion for child nutrition and the advocacy process, you should apply. 

The award is open to SNA members who have been a member for at least three years. Members who are responsible for the district leadership of the school nutrition program, or who hold the title of "Director" are not eligible to apply.

For complete details about the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow, visit

The application deadline is Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

Related Links

Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow

SNF Scholarships

Help Schools Score a $1000 Breakfast Grant with the “got milk?®” Breakfast Blitz

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January 10, 2013 - Fuel Up to Play 60 and the National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign have teamed up to help bring breakfast to more kids across the country. Visit through February 17, 2013 to enter UPC codes from grocery milk purchases (up to one per day) and vote to direct a $1,000 grant for your favorite Fuel Up to Play 60 school.  Every grocery milk purchase could also help you score prizes. Visit to register your UPC codes and access the school list.  No purchase necessary. Rules:

Schools participating in Fuel Up to Play 60 can use grants to start breakfast programs, so remember to tell students and parents about the Breakfast Blitz too!


Eight SNA Members Win Fuel Up to Play 60 Sweepstakes

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January 9, 2013 – SNA’s Fuel Up to Play 60 registration sweepstakes has ended – and eight lucky members won free conference registrations. The following four winners won the fall drawing in September:

  • Barbara Lee, Livermore Valley School District, Livermore, CA
  • Lisa Smith, Highlands County School District, Sebring, FL
  • Debora Hanson, Alta-Aurelia Community Schools, Aurelia, IA
  • Lucy Murphy, Cherokee County Schools, Canton, GA

And four additional winners won in December:

  • Christine Dahnke, Spring Lake Park Schools, Spring Lake Park, MN
  • Rachel Oliviera, Blackstone-Millville School District, Blackstone, MA
  • Donna Barnes, Davis School District, Farmington, UT
  • Accordia Horn, Sunnyside School District, Sunnyside, WA

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a great way to increase participation in your program and garner extra funding. To learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60, visit The deadline to apply for funds is January 15th! Register online at

Discover the Possibilities at CNIC 2013 in San Antonio!

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January 8, 2013 – The dawning of a new year means new beginnings and new possibilities — are you ready to explore your potential at SNA’s 2013 Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC)? If so, then pack your bags and head to San Antonio, where school nutrition professionals will come together for three days of learning, collaborating and engaging.

If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late to attend this year’s conference! Held from January 13-15, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, CNIC onsite registrations will be accepted — just fill out the onsite registration form and bring it with you to the CNIC registration desk, where the SNA staff will set you up with everything you need to participate in this enlightening event.

Highlights of the 2013 CNIC include:

  • Impact of the New Meal Pattern Guidelines on operators and industry, how the 2012 election will affect school nutrition programs, using social media to your advantage!
  • Book signings from the conference’s compelling speakers, authors Ross Shafer (Nobody Moved Your Cheese) and Dr. Jackie Freiberg (NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success). To learn more about Freiberg’s business philosophies, see video below.
  • Targeted industry sessions featuring focused, useful information about operations, a la carte, social media and updates from USDA.
  • Incredibly popular Innovation Stations, where you have the chance to learn about the latest and greatest in school nutrition solutions, including food beverage, service, supply and equipment.
  • Posing for photos in the conference theme areas and networking with fellow attendees at the MyPlate Breakfast, where you can mingle with old friends, create new relationships and catch up on information you might have missed over the course of the conference.

Additionally, don’t forget to pack your athletic shoes to take part in the STEPS Challenge wellness events, taking place on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Both events will include a guided walking tour of the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk. Participants will earn a STEPS Challenge T-shirt, plus a conference badge ribbon. Sign up for the wellness events at registration or at the STEPS Challenge registration station. Don’t forget — participating in activities at CNIC will earn you points for January’s STEPS challenge, “Make Time for Fitness.” To learn more about the STEPS Challenge, click here.

San Antonio’s weather calls for temperatures in the mid-50s to mid-60s with a chance of light rain on Tuesday, so dress in layers and don’t forget a light jacket! To learn more about what San Antonio has to offer, head to

The future is bright, and the possibilities are endless! For more about CNIC 2013, click here. See you in San Antonio!

Related Links

CNIC 2013

CNIC Onsite Registration Form

STEPS Challenge

School Nutrition Explores Key Equipment Topics

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January 7, 2013—When it comes to equipment, on a daily basis, school nutrition operators rely on machines and devices that are efficient and hard-working, but what aspects of the bigger equipment picture also are important to consider? The January issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, explores the equipment-related topics that should be top of mind for school nutrition professionals. The issue also details the types of vegetables that must be served on a weekly basis as part of the dark green vegetables requirement of the new meal pattern regulation.

The top procurement goals of the equipment vendor are quite different from those of the school nutrition operator. But that doesn’t mean they have to be at odds! Learn how vendors and operators can find common ground in the equipment procurement process in “The Buying Game.” Bonus Web Content: Curious about how equipment manufacturers train their reps to sell effectively to the K-12 school nutrition market? Find out in exclusive online content, and hear reflections from several operators on the different experiences they have purchasing replacement pieces versus equipping a brand-new facility.

While school kitchens today look nothing like those predicted in Sixties-era science fiction, basic kitchen equipment technology has evolved over the years. Take a journey of equipment through the ages in “Hot & Cold.”

Is your operation equipped for the challenge of surviving a much-needed, but possibly ill-timed, kitchen or cafeteria renovation? School nutrition colleagues who have undergone such renovations offer insight and wisdom that just might save you some time—and money—in “In the Wake of the Wrecking Ball.”

“Bein’ Green” decodes which dark green vegetables are acceptable under the new meal pattern regulation and offers some suggestions for kid-friendly menu options. Bonus Web Content: Don’t miss additional recipe selections available as online-only content.

Related Link

School Nutrition–January 2013   

Voters See Childhood Hunger as a Solvable National Priority, Survey Says

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January 4, 2013—Though issues related to the fiscal cliff have garnered much attention recently among the American public, another topic important to voters continues to be childhood hunger, as demonstrated by a new poll from Share Our Strength indicating that Americans across the political spectrum are deeply concerned about the issue. The poll, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates (a Republican firm) and Freedman Consulting, LLC (a Democratic firm), surveyed 1,000 people who voted in the 2012 presidential election. According to the survey, while they are worried about childhood hunger, Americans also believe it is a solvable problem. Accordingly, the public wants federal, state and local leaders to protect the nutrition programs that ensure that our nation’s children get the healthy food they need.

Specifically, 60% of survey respondents said it was more important to fund child nutrition programs than to reduce the national debt. Almost all voters surveyed (88%) supported programs that provide nutritious school breakfasts to children who might otherwise go hungry. In addition, among respondents who said they would prefer “a smaller government with fewer services” to “a larger government with more services,” 81% agreed that local elected officials should support programs to ensure that kids at risk of hunger have access to nutritious breakfasts at school.

To view the full survey results, click here.

Related Link

Share Our Strength Post-Election Survey on Childhood Hunger

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