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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. Go to USDA's Team Nutrition website for more information:

What is Team Nutrition? - an overview of what it means to be a Team Nutrition school.

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.

Iowa Team Nutrition Grants

Currently the Iowa Department of Education is implementing two technical assistance/training grants (Team Nutrition 2013-2015 Grant and Team Nutrition 2014-2016 Grants). The grants support Team Nutrition programs in schools, child care and summer foodservice programs across the state 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 environments that are conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.

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!


During the funding period $500 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.

Join the Team!

Enroll to become a Team Nutrition school and be recognized by USDA.

Not sure if your school is enrolled? Or the information needs to be updated?

Team Nutrition Newsletters

On a monthly basis Team Nutrition develops a newsletter that 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. Below is a link to past editions. To receive the newsletter on a monthly basis please email

Social Media

"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 lead change for school wellness. The school Food Service Director can “team up” to 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 at for RDN volunteers in your local 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 - Materials can help engage students in trying a new food and grow into adventurous eaters. The resources provide assistance with taste testing fruits and vegetables and nutrition education in the classroom or in the cafeteria. Resources include 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 through nutrition education and physical activity.

Iowa Gold Star Cycle Menus - Available for all schools to incorporate fully or partially into their school meals program. The menus and recipes for lunch and breakfast offer increased whole grains, fruits and vegetables and legumes, optional locally grown produce, and healthy USDA Foods. In addition, Nutrikids 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. Four site visits occurred at each building, providing a snapshot of food consumption in school meals when recess was after lunch and when recess was before lunch. Below are the results per school building and a guide to assist schools in making the determination of moving recess before lunch.

Montana Recess Before Lunch Tool-Kit

Role Model for School Wellness - Adults by their actions serve as role models to students often without realizing it. 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. Students joining adults in action will support the district's wellness environment. The following tools are resources that can assist you in being a role model for school wellness.

School Breakfast Promotion Resources for High School Students - The Iowa Department of Education’s Team Nutrition Program, along with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, worked on a project to address school breakfast participation among Iowa teens. To figure out the best way to address this issue, 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. These students identified barriers, motivators, and benefits to eating school breakfast.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Wellness Challenges and Solutions - Handout listing common school wellness challenges along with suggested solutions compiled from middle school students who attended the Super Power Summits. The handout can be shared with students, administrators, school wellness committees and others in a school or community to help implement some of the student suggested solutions to further school wellness efforts.

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 Healthy Menu Makeover Online Learning Module - This online training module includes nine lessons that provide information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The lessons explain how the Dietary Guidelines for Americans apply to work in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), includes best practice examples, and provides helpful resources. A certificate for 4 hours of continuing education in CDA content area: Planning a Safe, Healthy Learning Environment is awarded upon completion of all lessons.

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.

Workshops and Contests

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 student Students Taking Charge wellness event, on April 4th at the YMCA Camp in Boone, Iowa. 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, went on a hike, 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 - Each year Team Nutrition partners with Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Midwest Dairy to hold a Super Power Summit. To view information about the 2014 Summit at the Indianola YMCA visit the Iowa Action for Healthy Kids webpage. See photos from Super Power Summit 2015 Super Power Summit 2013 and Super Power Summit 2012.

Youth in Action for a Healthy Iowa Video Contest

Madeline George and Natalie Ervolino, two middle school 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.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on October 21, 2017 at 12:14am.