February Healthy Schools - Healthy Students Newsletter

Team Nutrition Iowa, Action for Healthy Kids Iowa, and Iowa Department of Education logos



Healthy Schools
Heart made of strawberries

 This monthly newsletter is published in partnership with Iowa Team Nutrition and Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids and provides information on nutrition and physical activity programs, upcoming school wellness trainings and funding opportunities, and success stories from Iowa schools working to support healthy habits in their students and staff.

Stay Connected! Iowa Department of Education - Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services

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February - A Month of Healthy Opportunities

Show Your Teeth Some Love Bulletin Board

February is a great month to promote healthy eating and physical activity at your school!

National Children's Dental Health Month

Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children in the U.S. and it can be prevented! The American Dental Association has some promotional materials and activity ideas, including having a student dress up like the tooth fairy handing out free toothbrushes from a local dentist office.

American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. During this month, help students and staff understand the importance of a healthy heart and actions they can take to live a heart healthy life. Action for Healthy Kids has some ideas to help you celebrate healthy habits!

Smart Snacks and Valentine's Day Fundraisers

cheerio bar

The Healthy, Hunger‐Free Kids Act of 2010, establishes nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold to students before, during and 30 minutes after the school day.

How does this apply to fundraisers or vending machines operated by school groups? During the school day, only foods and beverages that meet the Smart Snack standards or nonfood/beverage items can be sold to students, no matter who is selling the items.

What about “from scratch” items? If a student group would like to make items using a recipe to sell to students during the school day, then the recipe needs to be analyzed to ensure it meets Smart Snacks nutrition standards. Iowa Team Nutrition has complied Smart Snacks Approved Recipes as a resource.

For additional information, visit the Iowa Department of Education Smart Snack page or contact Carrie at carrie.scheidel@iowa.gov.

School Nutrition Training Webcasts


School Nutrition Directors can utilize these 10-15 minute webcasts during staff training. The Facilitator Guides include hands-on activities and quizzes to assess knowledge gained and links to additional trainings and resources.

Topics include: School Wellness and Smart Snacks, Cafeteria Coaching, Sodium in Schools, Pleasant and Positive Mealtimes at School, Civil Rights, Practical Skills in School Meals, Food Production Records, Build a Healthy Lunch and Breakfast (offer vs. serve), and Customer Service.

To receive Professional Standards Training Documentation for school nutrition staff that participated please e-mail Carrie at carrie.scheidel@iowa.gov.

School Breakfast

National School Breakfast Week is a March 5-9th! Increasing breakfast participation is a goal for many schools and National School Breakfast Week is the perfect time to bring attention to the breakfast program.Celebrate with decorations, special menus, events and celebrations, and more.

Benefits of participating in National School Breakfast Week:

  • Increase student participation in the school's breakfast program;
  • Remind parents of the healthy breakfast options available each day;
  • Earn media coverage from local papers, blogs, and TV stations; and
  • Connect with teachers and administrators to promote the academic benefits of breakfast.  

The School Nutrition Association has some great marketing resources as well as celebration ideas!

Share your plans with schoolmeals@iowa.gov and use #NSBW18 with social media posts!

Iowa Nutrition Network Grant Funding Opportunity

Pick a Better Snack Logo

The Iowa Department of Public Heath will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Iowa Nutrition Network School Grant Program by mid-March. The program includes funding for Pick a Better Snack nutrition education lessons by an outside educator for K-3 students.

Applicants will apply for a 6-year project period beginning October 1, 2018. Priority schools are those with high percentages of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. For more information, contact Suzy Wilson at suzy.wilson@idph.iowa.gov.

Exercising Your Character - April 12th

Exercising Your Character

WHO: 4th & 5th Grade Students
WHAT: A free inspirational and motivational session that includes physical activity
WHERE: Hy-Vee Hall -  Des Moines
WHEN: Thursday, April 12 - 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Registration for the event is free. Prior to the event, all students who are registered will receive a free t-shirt. Following the event, a free lunch will be provided to all students as they return to their buses. All participating schools will be provided with a bus transportation allowance ($400). 
The deadline for registration is March 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Check out the Exercising Your Character website for more information. Questions? Contact Kourtney Arnold at KArnold@hy-vee.com.

Iowa Local Food Day

local food day

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is planning an Iowa Local Food Day on Thursday, October 11 during National Farm to School Month!

On this day, schools are encouraged to serve at least two items for breakfast and/or lunch that are composed of primarily locally sourced items. Assistance with procurement, menu planning and other resources will be available. Participation is voluntary.

Please take a few minutes to complete the Iowa Food Day Survey to help gauge interest and provide feedback to make Iowa's first Local Food Day a success. Those that complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to receive farm to school supplies. Survey Deadline: February 9th

For more information, contact Tammy Stotts at tammy.stotts@iowaagriculture.gov.

Connecting the Community to School Wellness

MFL MarMac CSD has done an excellent job showcasing their wellness initiatives with the community and inviting them to be a part of the wellness policy committee! 

Wellness Committee Welcomes Input from Community

For additional ways to build support for your school wellness policy, view the School Wellness Beyond the Cafeteria Webinar presented by the Iowa Department of Education on January 16.

books with apple
Farm to School Conference

Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors

Fuel Up to Play 60

The online application for the 2018 Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador National Summit (July 16-19 in Atlanta, GA) is open for students (5th grade or higher). Completing this application is required if the student would like to be considered as Iowa’s Fuel Up to Play 60 State Ambassador and/or attend the national summit. Applications are due by March 9. To learn more contact Jen Ransom at jransom@midwestdairy.com.