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Team Nutrition


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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 ChooseMyPlateWhat is Team Nutrition?

Overview of what it means to be a Team Nutrition school.

Join the Team!

Free Nutrition Education Resources

Nutrition education resources are available on the USDA Team Nutrition webpage. Resources include curriculum, posters, stickers, menu planning resources, and more!

Iowa Team Nutrition Grants

Currently the Iowa Department of Education is implementing two technical assistance/training grants (Team Nutrition 2016-2019 Grant and Team Nutrition 2017-2020 Grants). The grants support 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.


During the funding period sub-grant opportunities are available to assist schools/programs that want to enhance nutrition education, link nutrition and physical activity options, make policy changes or conduct events to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Funding opportunities are promoted through workshops, webinars, and the newsletter.

Stay Connected!

Healthy Schools - Healthy Students Monthly Newsletter - Provides information on implementing nutrition and physical activity programs in schools, awareness of upcoming school wellness training and funding opportunities, and success stories from Iowa schools. To receive the newsletter on a monthly basis please email

"Like Us" and "Follow Us" to find out about the latest funding opportunities, success stories across the state, and resources to support the wellness environment at your school! In addition, use both as a resource to “share” or “retweet” information to your followers as an avenue to promote school wellness.

Child Nutrition Recognition

The HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms Award a voluntary certification initiative to recognizing schools that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity and the implementation of Smarter Lunchrooms.

The Healthier Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Award is a recognition system that supports the wellness efforts of child care centers and homes participating in CACFP.

School Resources

Comfortable Cafeteria - Dayle Hayes, an award winning presenter from Montana, described how to provide an atmosphere that encourages students to select healthy foods choices and offered tips on how to get students to eat them. The webinar shares ideas on how foodservice staff, as well as administrators, teachers, parents, wellness team members, etc., can support comfortable cafeterias.

Empowered Parents for School Wellness Workshops - The 1 ½ hour workshop will empower parents to support school meals and be advocates for school wellness. The school Food Service Director can co-lead the workshop with a local Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), dietetic student, school nurse, health teacher, etc. Workshop materials include a leader guide, handouts, fact sheets, table tent awards, and myth and fact quiz. Contact the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for RDN volunteers in your area.

Fruit and Vegetable Bar Guide - Fruit and vegetable bars have the potential to improve nutrition and increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes and assist schools in meeting the new meal pattern requirements set forth in the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act. Utilize this guide as a resource when implementing fruit and vegetable bars in your district.

Fruit and Vegetable Resources - Sample tasting schedule; tasting instructions for students; tasting strategies in the classroom; fun fact sheets; hand washing sign; food safety tips; words to describe foods; fruit and vegetable announcements; fruit and vegetable promotion ideas; posters; activity sheets; family newsletters; videos and songs; and free nutrition education resources.

Healthy Schools - It's a Team Effort Workshops - The Iowa Department of Education’s Team Nutrition Program is partnering with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation to hold workshops led by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). The two-hour workshops held across the state will provide training for elementary teachers and staff to support a school wellness.

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).

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 2013-14 school year. The pilot included an assessment of food and milk waste, photo estimation, and school staff interviews and surveys.

Role Model for School Wellness - School personnel, parents, and other adults that students come in contact with regularly are powerful role models when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. Parents as Role Models; School Staff as Role Models and How You Can Be A Role Model.

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.

Iowa School Breakfast Webpage - Overview of the School Breakfast Program, promotional resources and parent and student surveys.

School Wellness Bulletin Boards and Signage Ideas - A one stop shop for ideas for bulletin boards, signage, electronic message, murals, and wall quotes that can be used throughout the school to feature wellness messages to support the school wellness environment.

School Wellness Policy Building Report: Sample report districts can distribute to schools to complete an annual assessment to document progress in meeting the district’s wellness policy goals at the building level.

Smarter Lunchrooms - The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement uses evidence-based, simple, low and no-cost changes to lunchrooms which can improve school meal participation and profits while decreasing waste. These resources can help schools evaluate their lunchroom, determine the things they are doing well, and identify areas of opportunity for improvement.

  • Student Lunchroom Scorecard: Student-friendly lunchroom assessment that students can use to help make Smarter Lunchroom cafeteria changes.
  • Today I Made a Difference: Signage to post on the cafeteria line for staff to view and "cue" them to interact with students to help them make the healthy choice.

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.

Smart Snack Recipes - Collection of recipes that meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards designed for student groups, foods classes, school stores, and a la carte lines.

Smart Snacks Assessment - Tool to assess Smart Snack compliance through the school building. This can serve a useful tool to prepare for a School Nutrition Administrative Review.

Students “Taking Charge” of Their Health - Iowa’s Team Nutrition program along with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s I-STEP tobacco prevention program partnered to hold a state-wide high school wellness event. Approximately 150 students and teachers from 30 schools learned how to become advocates for healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco prevention. The students learned about recent changes to school lunch, participated in breakout sessions, and built a human bar graph depicting the top causes of death, which includes obesity and tobacco use. See videos of the human bar graph and student interviews from the workshop.

Super Power Summit - Team Nutrition has partnered with Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Midwest Dairy to hold a Super Power Summit. See photos from Super Power Summit 2015 Super Power Summit 2013 and Super Power Summit 2012.

Take n' Talk Grab n' Go Menu - Indianola Middle School participated in a Team Nutrition pilot to offer a grab n’ go line as a convenient option. Students chose the name "Take n’ Talk" as this line allowed them more time to talk with their friends. All "Take n’ Talk" options include a full reimbursable meal with a choice of milk. Take n' Talk Recipes.

USDA Foods Recipes - Chef Deanna Olson worked with the USDA Foods Advisory Council to develop and standardize ten new recipes for schools utilizing USDA Foods, as part of a Team Nutrition grant. Flavor Shakers - Chef Deanna Olson created the low-sodium herb/seasoning mixtures to be utilized in childcare and schools to decrease sodium consumption .

Walking Works for Schools Tool-Kit - Walking is a form of exercise accessible to just about everybody. It's safe, simple and doesn't require practice. Use this resource to organize a walking club or walk-to-school program at your school that will energize your entire school community.

Youth in Action for a Healthy Iowa Video Contest - Madeline George and Natalie Ervolino, students from George Washington Middle School in the Dubuque Community School District, produced a video, "Our Healthy School", and were selected as the winners of the Iowa Team Nutrition Youth in Action for a Healthy Iowa video contest.

CACFP Resources

Smarter Mealtime Scorecard - A scorecard for participants of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that can be used to assess the mealtime environment in the childcare setting that includes: menu planning, parent communication, mealtime experience, mealtime environment, and provider involvement and support.

CACFP Wellness On-Line Modules - The following trainings support healthy child care environments and provide CACFP training credit hours: CACFP Meal Pattern Best Practices; Smarter Mealtime Scorecard; Farm to CACFP; Opportunities for Active Play; Meaningful Mealtimes; Nutrition Education; Trying New Foods; and Healthy Menu Makeover. Enrollment key: pineapple.

CACFP New Meal Pattern Menu with Best Practices - 4-week cycle menu for CACFP that follows the updated meal pattern and best practices.

CACFP Best Practices Checklist: Tool to help identify areas for improvement in implementing the CACFP meal pattern best practices.

CACFP Nutrition and Physical Activity Card Sets - A series of cards provides hands on suggestions to help childcare providers implement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The resources were developed to make it easy to include health-enhancing components in childcare.

Flavor Shakers - Chef Deanna Olson created the low-sodium herb/seasoning mixtures to be utilized in childcare and schools to decrease sodium consumption.

Move for Thought PK & K - The Move for Thought resource for Pre-K and K integrates physical activity, books and music in the preschool classroom. The kit was developed by Spyridoula Vazou, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, at Iowa State University, funded through Team Nutrition.

Pass the Peaches - Resources developed by Dayle Hayes focuses on how to feed children in a pleasant and positive atmosphere, emphasizing family style meals. 

Snacks from A to Z - Snack ideas for each letter of the alphabet to be utilized in child care centers, home childcares, and preschools.

Stories in Motion - Physical Activity Breaks - Stories in Motion are short stories that include action words which prompt bursts of physical activity! Utilize these stories in your child care for short physical activity breaks.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 24, 2018 at 9:52pm.