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Nutrition Programs

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 ChooseMyPlate. Free curriculum, posters and menu planning resources are available on the USDA Team Nutrition webpage.

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Iowa Team Nutrition Grants

Currently the Iowa Department of Education is implementing a Team Nutrition Grant that supports 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.


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School Resources

Nutrition Education Tools: The local food fact sheet posters and learning activities can be used to educate students about local Iowa foods. The learning activity sheets provide physical activities, learning and taste testing activities that can be implemented in classrooms to teach students about 12 different foods that are grown or produced in Iowa. The fact sheet posters support the learning activities and can be posted throughout the school building.





Green Bell Pepper

Leafy Greens



Red Bell Pepper

Sweet Corn

Whole Grains

Zucchini Squash

Communication Tools - Collection of resources to help school nutrition programs communicate effectively with school staff, parents and the community about the value of the child nutrition program.

Healthy Schools - Healthy Students Project Guide - The Healthy Schools - Healthy Students project was implemented by the Iowa Department of Education's Team Nutrition program and evaluated by the University of Iowa. The intervention aimed to empower youth through school-based nutrition education, modeling and encouraging healthy behaviors, promoting healthy school environments and providing food service staff with training opportunities.

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 2013–2014 school year. The pilot included an assessment of food and milk waste, photo estimation and school staff interviews and surveys.

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.

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.

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

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

Smarter Mealtime Scorecard - An assessment tool to help improve menu planning, parent communication; and mealtime experience and environment.

Move for Thought PreK-K - A program that offers integrated physical activities in the early learning environment that includes videos, 57 activities, supporting files, and music.

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School Nutrition Staff Training Webcasts

School Nutrition Directors can utilize these 10-15 minute webcasts during staff training. The webcasts are narrated by the Iowa Team Nutrition Co-Director and include hands-on activities and quizzes to assess knowledge gained. In addition, the Facilitator Guide provides links to additional trainings and resources to support the topic.

Professional Standards Training Documentation: Track the staff in attendance, webcast title, description, date viewed, and length of training.

School Wellness and Smart Snacks

Local educational agencies participating in federal Child Nutrition programs to establish and implement local school wellness policies and follow Smart Snacks nutrition standards.

Cafeteria Coaching

Cafeteria Coaching provides an opportunity for youth to experience leadership, while influencing the younger generation with behavior changes, developed by ISU Extension and Outreach.

Sodium in School Meals

Explore ways to reduce sodium in school meals, identify flavor trends, and how to set up a flavor station.

Pleasant and Positive Mealtimes at School

Identifies the important role school cafeterias play in helping children create positive relationships with food and share tips to make mealtime pleasant for students.

Civil Rights

Inform, train and educate child nutrition program staff (with non-administrative duties) regarding general USDA Civil Rights requirements.

Practical Skills in School Meals

Highlights practical skills and tools necessary to deliver safe and quality school meals.

Food Production Records

Includes the benefits and importance of keeping accurate production records for school meals.

Customer Service

A customer-focused program begins with a school nutrition team that understands and is committed to the goal of helping students learn to make healthy food choices and practice healthy eating habits.

Build a Healthy Lunch (Offer vs. Serve)

Includes meal requirements for the National School Lunch Program, Offer vs. Serve, practice identifying a reimbursable meal, and strategies to encourage students to choose and enjoy fruits and vegetables. 

Build a Healthy Breakfast (Offer vs. Serve)

Includes meal requirements for the School Breakfast Program, Offer vs. Serve, the difference between an item and a component, and practice identifying a reimbursable breakfast.

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