SNA News

Introducing SNF’s New Breakfast Learning Series

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April 29, 2013 – Engaging stakeholders is an essential skill; yet it can be a challenge.

To help build your confidence and skills to effectively garner stakeholder support and shine a light on your child nutrition program, be a part of the School Nutrition Foundation’s Breakfast Learning Series.

Follow and help our fictitious school district, Star School District, navigate successful implementation of breakfast in the classroom through a dynamic interactive online platform. You can help Star School District win over reluctant teachers, problem solve with custodial staff, convince principals, empower foodservice staff and turn parents into school breakfast champions!

Each segment is worth 1 CEU. For more information and to sign up, please email, with the subject line, “Breakfast Learning Series.”

SNA Monitors NSLP and SBP Participation Changes

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April 23, 2013 – With the many changes occurring in school nutrition programs, SNA is tracking fluctuations in participation levels for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program in order to understand national participation trends. Using data from USDA, SNA is specifically interested in comparing the participation rates for the 2012-13 school year with those from the 2011-12 school year. SNA will provide periodic updates on participation trends as the Association continues to monitor the data.


National School Lunch Program

  • Based on participation data for September through December, the average number of students participating in the National School Lunch Program for SY 2012-13 has decreased 3.07%, compared to the same time frame last school year (2011-12). The biggest decreases are seen in the paid meal category, with a 9.39% decrease, and the reduced-price category, with a 4.12% decrease. Average participation in the free category has remained similar and increased slightly.
  • The average number of students participating per day was higher in November and December than in September and October.
  • So far, the average student participation tended to be lowest for the month of October (e.g., lowest participation for all categories except reduced-price). Additionally, October 2012 had the biggest decreases in participation when compared to October 2011 across each category (paid, free and reduced-price).

To view the National School Lunch Participation Tracking Charts, click here and here.

School Breakfast Program

  • Based on participation data for September through December, the average number of students participating in the School Breakfast Program for SY 2012-13 has increased 1.97%, compared to the same time frame last school year (2011-12). However, there are decreases in average student participation in the paid category (-1.41%) and reduced-price category (-0.6%).

To view the School Breakfast Program Participation Tracking Charts, click here and here.

SNA is also collecting information from school nutrition programs related to the operational impacts of the changes occurring in school nutrition program in its trendSETS newsletter.

Source: Program Information Report. Program Reports, Analysis and Monitoring Branch, Budget Division, Financial Management, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2012).

Preparing for ANC 2013: The Exhibit Hall

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April 22, 2013 – Frequently cited as the most anticipated part of SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC), the Exhibit Hall in Kansas City promises to be bigger and better than ever. An exhibit hall this big—it features more than 800 booths from 325 companies—requires advanced planning so you can make the most of the time available.

“The ANC Exhibit Hall atmosphere is filled with gleaming excitement all around,” says Georgine Miley, national school specialist for Mrs. T’s, proving that the anticipation for the hall extends beyond school nutrition employees and into industry members as well. “The activities taking place are sure to make the attendees trip a memorable one. The show is filled with an awesome display of exhibits with manufacturers ready to bring their ‘A’ game and make things happen.”

When you’re a ANC first-timer or a veteran in need of a refresher course, take look at some of the Exhibit Hall’s new features and old favorites.

  • For the first time, the Exhibit Hall will house four “You Are Here” kiosks, 42-inch touch screens that showcasing interactive maps, directors and searchable listings of the exhibitors. These kiosks make getting lost in the hall a thing of the past.
  • Find what you need in the Exhibit Hall mainstay special aisles. These include Dairy Way, USDA Lane, the Green aisle and Produce Row, all designed to create a one-stop shop for your particular needs.
  • What’s the latest and greatest in the school nutrition marketplace? The New Product Showcase and Cutting-Edge Complex can answer that question, giving you ideas on how to keep your school nutrition operation up-to-date and running as efficiently as possible.
  • There’s nothing more delicious than discovering fresh ways to prepare and serve school meals. During the culinary demonstrations, meet with experts who can share culinary secrets and nutrition tips to increase participation at your school.
  • When the excitement of the Exhibit Hall has proven to be too much, stop by Wellness Village for a chance to relax and pick up tips from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, the Red Cross and more.

Don’t miss the grand opening and ribbon cutting of ANC 2013’s Exhibit Hall on Monday, July 15th. Register for ANC in Kansas City today!

Save Time and Stay Up to Date with SNA SmartBrief

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April 17, 2013 – Staying sharp as a school nutrition professional today means staying on top of what’s happening in districts around the country, as well as national news. Can’t find the time to browse for related articles? You don’t want to fall behind. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: Sign up to receive SNA SmartBrief and receive a summary of the news that really matters—delivered straight to your inbox each weekday.

This e-newsletter is an essential tool that will help you stay on top of the latest issues and trends in school nutrition. Launched in early 2012, SNA SmartBrief now boasts more than 17,000 subscribers who depend on the daily brief to save time and keep current.

To help deliver this resource to SNA members and the school nutrition community, SNA has partnered with SmartBrief, Inc., an online media publishing company that gives readers in more than 25 industries a competitive edge by providing them with targeted news and information. Knowledgeable SmartBrief editors filter through thousands of news sources daily, handpicking and summarizing key articles and providing direct links to the original sources. In other words, SmartBrief does all the research and you get the latest news in your inbox, absolutely free.

To subscribe to this e-newsletter, visit and be added to the mailing list. While you’re at it, go ahead and share an issue of SNA SmartBrief with your school nutrition peers to spread the word and help them be in the know!

In addition, the Association will continue to provide its biweekly CN Direct e-newsletter, which highlights key stories, events and announcements specifically from the SNA website. To subscribe to CN Direct, click here.

Related Links

Sign Up for SNA SmartBrief

SNA SmartBrief Archive

Sign Up for CN Direct

Less Than One Month Until School Lunch Superhero Day!

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April 10, 2013 – Have you marked your calendar for School Lunch Superhero Day (May 3) and School Nutrition Employee Week (May 6-10)? SNA has partnered with Jarrett  Krosoczka, author of “The Lunch Lady” series, to kick off School Nutrition Employee Week with the first-ever School Lunch Superhero Day. These special upcoming holidays will celebrate the hardworking employees in school cafeterias nationwide. Learn more at

On May 3rd, celebrate School Lunch Superhero Day!

To recognize School Lunch Superhero Day in your district, click here to download printable activities and cards for students to show their appreciation.

School Nutrition Directors – need an idea to reward your hardworking staff? Consider giving them the gift of SNA membership. If you recruit new members during the month of May, you’ll be entered to win Lunch Lady books for you and your school! For details, click here.

School Nutrition Unveils National School Lunch and Breakfast Week Themes

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April 5, 2013—With the arrival of spring comes the April issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, which showcases the upcoming themes for National School Lunch Week (NSLW) and National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) and provides a look back at the exciting celebrations held across the country during last fall’s NSLW. This issue also serves up the highlights of January’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference and offers some interesting facts about pungent produce favorites onions and garlic.

Spacious skies, amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties…there sure is a lot to love about the USA! Your school nutrition operation can celebrate regional flavors from across the nation during NSLW, October 14-18, 2013. Check out “Lunch, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” for ideas on menu items to serve and promotion suggestions from colleagues across the country.

NSLW 2012’s theme, “School Lunch—What’s Cooking?”, encouraged school nutrition professionals to celebrate and showcase all of the positive changes that they have been making in their school lunch programs. “Cookin’ Up Some Fantastic Fun” offers a look at how some schools and districts made the most of this annual chance to dispel outdated stereotypes and generate fresh enthusiasm.

In the midst of any busy school day, there’s one priority that definitely shouldn’t be skimped on in the interest of time—breakfast. “Take Time for School Breakfast” unveils the NSBW 2014 theme and provides ideas and details about available resources to help you put on a fun and effective promotion.

School nutrition professionals may be asked continually to do more with less, but their spirit remains undiminished, as evidenced by the passion and energy they exhibited in January during SNA’s annual Child Nutrition Industry Conference. If you attended, take a look back at some of the highlights in “1+1=Infinite Possibilities,” or if you were unable to make the trip, get up to speed on the notable events of this valuable conference.

How can today’s school and family chefs successfully serve up healthier alternatives that kids won’t call boring, blah or bland? One answer is to turn to onions and garlic, two little bulbs both bursting with flavor! Learn some interesting facts and be inspired by new recipes in “Savor the Flavor of Onions & Garlic.” Bonus Web Content: Check out a recipe idea from one of School Nutrition’s Kitchen Wisdom Panelists, as well as a list of onion- and garlic-related web links.

Related Link

School Nutrition –April 2013   

Top 10 Reasons to Attend ANC 2013

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April 3, 2013 – Let the countdown begin! We’re just over three months away from SNA’s 67th Annual National Conference (ANC), taking place in the heart of the nation: Kansas City, Missouri. However, a closer deadline looms near — May 10th marks the deadline for early-bird registration, a discounted price to attend the conference. If you’ve attended ANC in the past, you probably don’t need any more convincing — you’ve already registered. If you’re still on the fence, take a look at these 10 reasons — in no particular order — why ANC 2013 shouldn’t be missed.

  • Education sessions. The centerpiece of the conference, the nearly 90 education session focus on four key program areas – operations, nutrition, administration and communications & marketing – meaning that there’s opportunities for professional development for everyone. Don’t forget – seven valuable pre-conference sessions will be held on Saturday, July 13 (additional registration required).
  • Wellness events. Have you been following SNA’s STEPS Challenge? ANC 2013 kicks off year two with a Tuesday morning wellness event and celebration of all things healthy. Stop by Wellness Village, too, to relax and recharge your mind and body.
  • Culinary Demonstrations. Join culinary professionals for a tutorial on how to prepare and present delicious recipes, utilizing fresh culinary techniques and innovative ideas to energize a school nutrition operation.
  • SNA Emporium. Have you had your eye on an SNA T-shirt or tote bag? Here’s your chance to stock up on goodies displaying your pride for your profession.
  • Keynote speakers. Don’t miss the inspirational, encouraging messages of Al Roker (Today Show), Lisa Ling (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline) and Jarrett J. Krosockza (creator of the “Lunch Lady” series), the keynote speakers for ANC’s general sessions.
  • Exhibit Hall. Attendees go crazy for the Exhibit Hall, which features more than 700 booths from 300 companies promoting the latest and greatest in products and services available to the school nutrition industry.
  • Darius Rucker concert. It’s a final event like no other – country-rock star Darius Rucker (former frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish) takes the stage to serenade the crowd with his hits, such as “History in the Making,” “Alright,” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”
  • Member Section Meetings. These gatherings targeted to specific member sections, offering valuable information that’s key to your position within the school nutrition industry.
  • SNA Awards. Come celebrate your peers on Sunday, July 14, at the annual SNA Awards. Honors are given to members at all levels, including state, regional and national award-winners.
  • The overall experience. For four days, take advantage of the collective knowledge, expertise and passion of the Association’s members, coming together for a common purpose. More than 5,000 school nutrition professionals and industry partners attend ANC year – this year, shouldn’t you be one of them?

Related Links

ANC 2013

ANC Registration

ANC Education Sessions

ANC Final Event

Making the Case for Membership

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April 3, 2013 – With the introduction of SNA’s Membership Toolbox, it’s never been easier for SNA state affiliates and local chapters to promote and grow membership. With this innovative resource developed by SNA’s Member Services Committee and SNA Headquarters staff, you can get resources you need to display, present and distribute at your next state or chapter event delivered on a simple computer flash drive.

This electronic toolbox includes two PowerPoint presentations outlining the benefits of belonging to SNA and membership recruitment and retention ideas; a video with firsthand testimonials about the benefits of School District-Owned Membership; an upbeat, fun song detailing the various rewards of individual membership; and a brochure template that allows you to easily add state images and relevant contact information. Additionally, you will receive flyers about various SNA programs and events, as well as information about the STEPS Challenge, the personal wellness program designed specifically for SNA members. Plus, along with the flash drive, the Toolbox includes a table-top banner and how-to checklist to help you create a membership booth/table display at your next event.

Need more information on innovative ways to use these resources and other recruitment tools (including two new brochures)? SNA’s Member Services Committee will present an education session, “The Membership Toolbox,” this summer at the Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, Mo. For questions about obtaining these and other helpful recruitment resources, contact SNA Marketing Specialist Emily Mannel via e-mail at

Healthy Edge Course to be Sunset April 30, 2013

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April 2, 2013 – The Healthy Edge course is being sunset because the content is outdated and no longer meets the SNA Certification requirements for nutrition core courses, due to several changes in resourced information and regulatory changes such as the new meal pattern.


  • Healthy Edge was originally developed by the School Nutrition Foundation and previously updated through resources from program donors and sponsors.
  • With the growing availability of no cost nutrition courses to SNA members that meet the nutrition core course requirement, the decision was made not to update Healthy Edge.

If you are an online course user:

  • The online course is no longer available for new registrants.
  • Individuals currently registered for the online course have until July 1, 2013, to complete all associated modules.
  • SNA will accept your certificate of completion as applicable nutrition education documentation for certification if issued on or before July 1, 2013.

If you are a SNA Certified Trainer or State Affiliate:

  • SNA Certified Trainers or state affiliates who are currently scheduled to offer Healthy Edge beyond April 30 will need to contact SNA's Certification & Credentialing Manager, Miles Truax, at to discuss details.
  • Unless previously authorized, attendee certificates of completion will not be accepted as applicable nutrition course documentation if issued after April 30, 2013.

Other nutrition education course options:

  • Individuals interested in taking a nutrition core course, and trainers who wish to offer such courses, can find a list of approved nutrition core courses posted on SNA's website.
  • SNA will continue to update trainers as new information is available.

Only Two STEPS Challenges Left!

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April 1, 2013 – It may be the home stretch of year one of the STEPS Challenge, but it’s not too late to register and start participating. Click here to sign up and participate in the final challenges. If you’ve been participating in STEPS all year, make sure to finish strong with the program by participating in the final two challenges of year one, for April and May.

  • The April challenge (begins Monday, April 1), Gobble Up Guilt-Free Dinners, encourages you to pick lean sources of protein at mealtime. All month long, you’ll earn points for choosing including fish, turkey, chicken breast, tofu, soy and other lean cuts of meat over higher fat ground beef, bacon, pork, or steak.
  • The May challenge (begins Wednesday, May 1), Minimize Your Screen Time, is all about swapping time with your TV, laptop, or tablet for physical activity. Whether you’re taking a walk, playing with the kids, or even doing chores around the house, ditch your screens and get moving!

To learn more about the challenges and download your tracking sheets for April and May, visit If you haven’t started participating yet, it’s not too late—STEPS will continue for the 2013-14 school year: year two officially launches at ANC Kansas City in July. Stay tuned for more details!

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