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The following tools have been developed to help school nutrition programs communicate effectively with the school staff, parents and the community about the needs and value of the child nutrition program.
Build a Healthy Lunch Signage
Iowa Team Nutrition has developed this reimbursable meal identification kit to assist students in selecting their meal choices and will reduce unintentional purchase of food items not included in the reimbursable meal. The kit was designed to help identify foods that are part of the reimbursable meal for the day at the near or beginning of the serving line (s) and allow schools to be in compliance of the "Identification of Reimbursable Meals" regulation that is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
- Build a Healthy Lunch Poster
- Build a Healthy Lunch Poster v.2
- Today's Menu Poster
- Today's Menu Poster v.2
- Build a Healthy Lunch Dry Erase Board (24 x 14 inches)
- Colored Tray (.jpeg)
- Mini Tray Sign (.jpeg)
- Menu Blank Sheet
- Menu Blank Sheet in Color
- Build a Healthy Lunch Today's Menu Poster in PPT Slide For Cafeteria Monitors
- Mini Tray with Components to Customize Tray
- Component Graphics (.jpeg files): Fruits, Vegetables, Meats/Meat Alternates, Grains, Fluid Milk
- Reimbursable Meal Signage - Washington State
Build Healthy Lunch Elementary Lessons and Activities:
Elementary Lesson: This lessons explains the “Build a Healthy Lunch” signage in the cafeteria and is a great way to show support for the school meal program in the classroom.
Menu Planning Presentation: Developed by Andrea Mahler, Food Service Director at Pleasant Valley Community School District. She delivers this presentation each year to the 4th grade classrooms and they can to develop a menu.
Coloring Sheet: Students can color all the foods, cut them out, and paste them in the correct part of the tray to match the meal component.
Coloring Contest: Hold a coloring contest where students draw the food items in each of the meal component sections to build their favorite school lunch menu.
Build a Healthy Breakfast Signage
Iowa Team Nutrition has developed school breakfast reimbursable meal identification signage to assist students in selecting their meal choices and to reduce unintentional purchase of food items not included in the reimbursable meal. The signage can be posted or placed in a letter sized clear acrylic sign holder.
Editable Menu Template
Editable Menu Template with Colored Components
School Breakfast Sign in PPT for Electronic Cafeteria Monitors
We Also Serve Breakfast – Cinnamon Roll and Banana Sign
Did You Know We Serve School Breakfast Too? – Sun Sign
Breakfast Exploration Poster Developed by Muscatine East Campus
Breakfast Inspiration Poster Developed by Muscatine East Campus
Find a variety of resources to promote your school meals program -- from menu cycle templates and recipes, to step-by-step toolkits for you to use to host events and activities focused on school lunch.
Newsletter Article, Presentations, and Webpage Templates
- Food Service Director Feature Article Template
- Newsletter Articles and Template
- Saydel Newsletter Article - Reimbursable Meals
- School Lunch Blog - ISU Extension Spend Smart - Eat Smart
- School Lunch Presentation Template
- School Nutrition Webpage Template
- Garner-Hayfield-Ventura School Nutrition Program Webpage
- The Why Behind School Lunch FAQs - Ankeny Community School District
- School Newsletter Tips and Article Ideas - Extension
- Institute of Child Nutrition Resources
- Newsletter templates, press release templates and tips to help school nutrition program communicate effectively with their school boards, administrators and the community about the needs and value of child nutrition programs.
Posters, Signage, and Free Team Nutrition Resources
- Bulletin Board and Signage Templates and Ideas
- FREE Posters, Stickers, and Nutrition Education Resources
Student and Parent Engagement
- Cooking Contest
- Engaging Students and Parents (including survey)
- Healthy School Lunches Videos
- Take Your Parent to School Lunch Day!
- High School Classroom Debate on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
- How to Run a Taste Test
- Involving Students
- Sample Morning Announcements
- Morning Announcements Menu Promotion - Washington State
- Wellness Wednesdays Messages
- Take Your Parents to Lunch
Cafeteria Coaching Resources
Cafeteria Coaching is a program developed by Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative that uses middle and high school students along with school nutrition staff to encourage kids to try new foods and eat nutritious school meals. The lunchroom is a hectic environment and children often need reminders to focus on their food and general encouragement to try new foods. A webinar was held in partnership with Laura Liechty from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
- Presentation Slides (.pptx)
- Presentation Slides Handouts (.pdf)
- Youth Training Outline
- Cafeteria Coaching Manual
- Webinar Recording
- School Nutrition Professional Documentation
- What if my schools are not close together?
Support from Parents and Resources
Parents can support a healthy school nutrition environment and services by:
- Participating in the school health council or parent-teacher group;
- Encouraging their children's participation in the school meals program;
- Volunteering their time with healthy school fundraisers and nutrition education activities; or
- Eating school meals with their children, reviewing menus, and knowing about available foods in vending machines, snack bars, and school stores.
Busting School Lunch Myths
Cost Comparison of Meals from Home and School Lunch
Get Active - color postcard
Get the Facts - color postcard
Healthy Food Ideas: School Snacks, Celebrations, & Family Events
How Can I Get More Involved with Meals at My Child’s School?
It's Better Nutrition - color postcard
It's Trying a New Vegetable (Kale) - color postcard
It's Trying a New Vegetable (Kale) - black and white postcard
Join the Conversation about School Lunch
School Meals: Challenges and Opportunities
School Meals: Questions and Concerns from Parents
The School Day Just Got Healthier - Information on the Changes to School Meals
Iowa Parent School Lunch Report - The University of Iowa Public Policy Center and University of Iowa College of Public Health conducted a study to determine Iowa parents' knowledge and perceptions of the school lunch program and the new school meal patterns as defined by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Iowa parents of school-aged children were surveyed online to assess attitudes, beliefs and practices in regards to the school lunch program at their child's school. View the full report.