Nutrition E-Newsletter for May 2012   

The Team Nutrition (TN) e-Newsletter is published periodically to share TN resources developed by USDA and/or by State agencies, and to share ideas for promoting healthy eating and physical activity through Team Nutrition at the State and local levels.

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New Core Nutrition Messages and Tools

Whole Grains, Milks, and Child Feeding Message and Tools

The Food and Nutrition Service has launched new audience-tested messages and tools for their caregivers at this new web site.

These messages and tools can be used across the nutrition assistance programs (e.g., Child Nutrition programs, SNAP, and WIC) to deliver consistent messages related to:

Core Messages Resources
  • Increase consumption of whole grains, fat-free and low-fat (1% fat or less) milk, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Encourage child feeding practices that foster healthy eating habits.
Schools may be particularly interested in the online Track & Field Fuel Up Challenge game and the new activity sheets for kids.

New Materials from Team Nutrition

Make Half Your Plate Fruits & Vegetables Poster
This poster shows how to make a student's tray and/or plate half fruits and vegetables at school, eating out, and at home. Teachers and school foodservice professionals will find this poster helps students visually understand how to make half their plate fruits and vegetables.

A limited number of posters are available to schools and child care centers only, upon request, from Team Nutrition by completing the online order form.

MyPlate for Kids

Healthier Middle SchoolsHealthier Middle Schools: Everyone Can Help
This series of communication tools is designed to help you engage teachers, principals, parents, food service managers and students in school wellness efforts. To support healthy food choices and physical activity at your school, a school-wide coordinated approach works best.

All videos and handouts are available online from Team Nutrition. Print materials and DVDs will be available for schools to order this June through Team Nutrition.


MyPlate Blast Off! Game
Students can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. Fuel tanks for each food group help students keep track of how their choices will, ultimately, pay off!

Available for online play from Team Nutrition.

Blast Off! Game

Coming Soon from Team Nutrition

This summer, Team Nutrition will release Nutrition Voyage: The Quest to be Our Best for middle schools.

Nutrition VoyageThese mini-lessons (or treks) engage 7th and 8th graders in school wellness efforts as they journey toward healthier food choices and being more physically active. 

There are three treks for each grade and lessons are designed to meet educational standards for English Language Arts, Math, and Science.  Seventh graders take part in a challenge to eat more fruits and vegetables, conduct a school survey, and make a plan to promote healthy food choices and physical activity at school.  Eighth graders take part in a physical activity challenge, evaluate snack choices at school, and explore locally grown food options.

Watch for the release of Nutrition Voyage at



HealthierUS School Challenge: New Criteria Announced

HealthierUS School ChallengeNew criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC), was announced by the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). These new criteria reflect changes to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) meal pattern requirements as stated in 7 CFR Parts 210 and 220, while continuing to recognize schools that go above and beyond Federal requirements for school meals.

Implementation of the new criteria will coincide with implementation of the new meal pattern requirements. All new applications submitted to the State agency on or after July 1, 2012, will be considered using the new criteria. The 2012 HealthierUS School Challenge Criteria Chart is available on the Team Nutrition Web site.

For additional information about the new criteria, please visit the Team Nutrition Web site. Additional guidance and resources will be available soon. Don't forget! Schools applying under current criteria, must submit applications to their State Agency by June 30, 2012. New criteria will take effect on July 1, 2012.

To date, HUSSC awards have been given to schools in 46 states. As of May 2012, there are 3098 schools certified.


Healthy Access Locator
Use this interactive map to view schools that have received a HealthierUS School Challenge Award. Users can search in an area by award level, school type, and date of award.

Healthy Access Locator


Update from USDA Food Distribution

USDA FoodsUSDA Foods Toolkit
The USDA Foods Toolkit is a collection of valuable resources to assist School Nutrition Professionals and educate students, school staff, and the community about the healthy and nutritious contributions that USDA Foods provide to school meal programs.

The Toolkit is available on the Food Distribution website.



New Materials from States

Bulletin Boards in a SNAPBulletin Boards in a SNAP
Wyoming State Nutrition Action Plan (SNAP) Team.
These bulletin boards can be used in a variety of community settings to convey nutrition and physical activity messages. All the graphics, handouts, activities and background information are provided.


Eat Smart Play Hard Video News
Kansas State Department of Education.
This resource highlights the work of Kansas Schools to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and assist families in living healthier lives. The ESPH Video News features videos, recipes, newsletters, and other resources about how to eat smart and play hard at school and at home.

ESPH Video News
  Family Fun, Food and Fitness Event Planning Guide (PDF | 12.3 MB)
Family Fun, Food and Fitness Event Planning GuideKansas Team Nutrition; 2011.
This guide provides instructions for planning and promoting a health-centered, family-friendly, school-sponsored event and includes specific instructions detailing both nutrition and fitness activities.
Power Up!
Kansas Department of Education; 2011.
Power Up is a 9-week health education program for middle school students in grades 6-8. Students organize a health and wellness event throughout the course of the program and carry out the event the final week of the program.
Power Up!
  State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) Posters
Think Fresh, Not FriedTeam Nutrition Iowa.
These two posters were developed and created by Iowa high school students, and mailed to all high schools in the state.

- Think Before You Drink: Regular Soda (PDF | 420 KB)

- Think Fresh, Not Fried (PDF | 466 KB)

Walking Works for Schools Toolkit  (PDF|12.5 MB)
Iowa Team Nutrition.
Provides steps to follow for planning a walking program at your school. A Webinar with additional information is also available.

Walking Works for Schools Toolkit
  Resources from the Healthy Meals Resource System

Best Practices Sharing Center

School Food Authorities and State Agencies can share resources and tools they use to serve healthy menus that meet the new school meal regulations:

Best Practices Sharing Center

State Sharing CenterState Sharing Center
Visit the State Sharing Center to view a variety of resources from every state, including contact information, materials developed as part of a Team Nutrition Training Grant, organizations and initiatives, success stories, and more!


Updated Conference Calendar
The conference calendar is updated with nationwide conferences all relevant to the area of Child Nutrition. Learn more about upcoming conferences.

Learn from your desk with a variety of Webinar opportunities.


About USDA's Team Nutrition
Team Nutrition is an integrated, behavior-based, comprehensive plan for promoting the nutritional health of the Nation's children. Team Nutrition uses three behavior-oriented strategies: 1) provide training and technical assistance to help Child Nutrition Program foodservice professionals to prepare and serve nutritious meals; 2) provide multifaceted, integrated nutrition education for children, their parents, and other adults who influence children's behavior; and 3) build school and community support to create a healthy school environment that is conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.

For more information regarding USDA's Team Nutrition and how to enroll your school as a Team Nutrition School, go to the USDA Web site at

What's new on USDA's Team Nutrition Web site? Check it out at

Submit your comments and suggestions regarding this Team Nutrition e-newsletter to the Healthy Meals Resource System (

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