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Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity. Team Nutrition's Goal is to improve children's lifelong eating and physical activity habits by using the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and ChooseMyPlate. Free curriculum, posters and menu planning resources are available on the USDA Team Nutrition webpage.
Choose Iowa Student Culinary Competition
The Iowa Department of Education is hosting a Choose Iowa Culinary Competition for students enrolled in a culinary arts class or foods based course. Students learning virtually, hybrid, or in person are eligible to participate. The concept for the competition is to plan a student-friendly recipe that features a local food item, can be replicated in large quantities, and follows the USDA school meal guidelines.
The student(s) that submit one of the top 12 recipes will be invited to be part of a culinary competition to be held late Spring 2021. In addition, the school will receive a $2,000 sub-grant to support collaborative activities with their school nutrition program. The recipes will be tested and standardized to be utilized by school nutrition programs across the state and country.
The deadline to submit entries is March 1, 2021. For more information, contact Carrie Scheidel at email@example.com or Katy Blatnick-Gagne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iowa Team Nutrition Grants
Currently the Iowa Department of Education is implementing a Team Nutrition Grant that supports Team Nutrition communication channels in schools and child care by providing:
- Provide training and technical assistance to child nutrition food service professionals to enable them to prepare and serve nutritious meals that appeal to children.
- Provide fun and interactive nutrition education for children, teachers, parents and other caregivers.
- Build school and community support for creating healthy school and child care environments that are conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.
Sign up as a Team Nutrition School or CACFP Organization to join an important network working towards healthier nutrition and physical activity environments.
- Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are invited to sign up as a Team Nutrition School.
- Sponsoring organizations and independent child cares that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program are invited to sign up as a Team Nutrition CACFP Organization.
Communication Tools – Collection of resources to help school nutrition programs communicate effectively with school staff, parents and the community about the value of the child nutrition program.
Healthy Schools - Healthy Students Project Guide – The Healthy Schools - Healthy Students project was implemented by the Iowa Department of Education's Team Nutrition program and evaluated by the University of Iowa. The intervention aimed to empower youth through school-based nutrition education, modeling and encouraging healthy behaviors, promoting healthy school environments and providing food service staff with training opportunities.
Iowa Gold Star Cycle Menus – Available for all schools to incorporate into their school meals program. The menus and recipes for lunch and breakfast offer increased whole grains, fruits and vegetables and legumes, locally grown produce and USDA Foods. In addition, nutritional analysis, menu contribution components and weekly certification worksheets are included.
Move for Thought Kit – Designed to help children increase their physical activity levels during the school day as well as to help teachers facilitate learning and academic achievement. The kit can be used to assist in meeting your Healthy Kids Act physical activity minutes and your Healthier US School Challenge physical activity minutes (if planned in partnership with the physical education teacher).
MyPlate Menu Templates – Collection of menu templates that include MyPlate, jokes, and nutrition tips. They are easy to download and use in Word and then save as a pdf for sharing. Customize with school name, month, and additional information.
MyPlate Classroom BINGO Cards – Monthly cards that include ways to incorporate nutrition and physical activity in the classroom on a monthly basis.
Iowa Recess Before Lunch Guide – Iowa Department of Education Team Nutrition Program partnered with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Midwest Dairy Council to conduct a recess before lunch pilot in three select elementary buildings during the 2013–2014 school year. The pilot included an assessment of food and milk waste, photo estimation and school staff interviews and surveys.
School Breakfast Promotion Resources for High School Students – Partnership with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center to address school breakfast participation among Iowa teens. Students from Waukee High School in Waukee, Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids and Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf were included in the project.
Stories in Motion – Short stories that include action words which prompt bursts of physical activity! Utilize these stories in your classroom for short physical activity breaks.
Healthy Habits Start Early Monthly Newsletter – Provides information on implementing nutrition and physical activity programs in child care centers and homes, upcoming CACFP training opportunities, success stories and resources to promote healthy habits in young children and their caregivers.
"Like Us" on Facebook to find out about the latest funding opportunities, success stories across the state, and resources to support the wellness environment at your child care.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IowaCACFP/
Healthy Habits Start Early Toolkit – Guide for implementing Healthy Habits Start Early, a garden-based nutrition program for child care centers and home childcare providers, that supports and improves healthy eating practices. This toolkit includes menu ideas, Iowa gardening tips, parent engagement tools, progress tracking tools, and advice for safely adapting meal service.
Healthy Habits Start Early Project Report – Showcases how daycare centers and home providers found success with improving their childcare wellness environments with a project with the University of Iowa.
- How CACFP Participating Home Child Care Providers Purchase, Prepare and Serve Healthy Foods: A Qualitative Study – University of Iowa interviewed 22 home providers to determine their current purchasing, preparation and serving practices of healthy foods.
CACFP Online Trainings – Online learning opportunities for CACFP participants: CACFP Meal Pattern Best Practices; Smarter Mealtime Scorecard; Farm to CACFP; Opportunities for Active Play; Meaningful Mealtimes; Nutrition Education; Trying New Foods; Healthy Menu Makeover; and healthy food purchasing.
CACFP New Meal Pattern Menu with Best Practices – Four-week cycle menu for CACFP that follows the meal pattern and best practices.
CACFP Best Practices Checklist – Tool to help identify areas for improvement in implementing the CACFP meal pattern best practices.
Move for Thought PreK-K – A program that offers integrated physical activities in the early learning environment that includes videos, 57 activities, supporting files, and music.
Smarter Mealtime Scorecard – An assessment tool to help improve menu planning parent communication; and mealtime experience and environment.