Stories from Nebraska Schools TEAM Up for Kids

August 12, 2013

Logo for the USDA's Team Nutrition program.

Logo for the USDA’s Team Nutrition program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always said there is something special and uniquely different about school food service staff. They care about kids, they love their work and they stay put! I had the opportunity to work with about 100 school food service directors/managers last week in Nebraska and I had them write down their years of service to kids and schools. Take a guess what the total number of years was for all those service years combined. OVER 1000 years of service dedicated to tasty, nutritious meals and healthy kids, AMAZING! Imagine all the changes some of those managers with 30+ years of service have seen! Team Nutrition is there.

My time with them was too short, but here are a few of the success stories I heard:

  • Theme days get kids excited! For example, at Halloween putting dry ice under the salad bar, playing spooky music and renaming salad bar items to fit the theme
  • Pioneer Day where the salad bar looked like a covered wagon and kids named the salad bar items through a writing assignment where they learned about life on the prairie long ago
  • Inviting local everyday heroes to lunch, like the firemen, policemen, and those serving in the military to share how healthy living is what helps them be heroes
  • Encouraging school alumni to come and eat with the kids – How cool to have graduates come back and enjoy conversation and healthy meals with the kids
  • FREE samples
  • Taste test panels – where kids get to choose what they like best and even see it on the menu too
  • Music in the cafeteria to make the whole atmosphere more welcome and inviting
  • Grab and go meals and even delayed breakfast in the classroom for when kids are really getting that midmorning slump – what creativity and dedication to kids

I could write and write stories of how Nebraska schools are already TEAMing Up for Kids through school food service and you know the cool part? These folks STILL came to training, gave up a summer day, drove across the cornfield state to learn how to do MORE for kids.

Let’s commit to supporting that dedication and hard work…Have you thought about what YOU can do?

I challenge each of us to find one way we can connect with our local school food service team and support healthy meals, nutrition education, parent involvement and healthy kids! Let me hear your actions! Share here, so others can get involved too!

It’s almost back to school time, the time is now, TEAM Up for Kids!

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