May Healthy Schools - Healthy Students Newsletter

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Healthy Schools

This monthly newsletter is published in partnership with Iowa Team Nutrition and Iowa 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. 

Iowa Department of Education - Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services

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School Lunch Hero Day

Lettuce and celery

Between preparing healthy meals for Iowa's students, adhering to nutrition standards, navigating food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are heroes!

On Friday, May 4, 2018, kick off School Nutrition Employee Week (May 7-11) with a bang, by celebrating the 6th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! It's a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria.

Check out the School Nutrition Association webpage for ideas to celebrate!

Governer's Youth Action Award

Governor's Youth in Action Award

The Governor’s Youth Action Award was established in 2015 to encourage Iowa youth to explore the benefits of healthy lifestyles, through physical activity, nutrition and community engagement. Governor Reynolds, in conjunction with Live Healthy Iowa Kids, Midwest Dairy Council, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development, and the Healthiest State Initiative, are pleased to recognize the outstanding achievement of Iowa youth through poster and video submissions.

The contest is open to youth in grades 4-12. Participating youth are asked to design a poster or video that showcases how youth can be an integral part of improving our communities through healthy living. The contest deadline is Friday, June 15, 2018.

For questions, please contact or (888)777-8881 ext. 118

Summer Food Service Program

SFSP pad

Summer meals provide a healthy option for all children. Even if your school does not participate in the Summer Food Service Program, you are required to provide information on summer meal sites in your area.

Below are ways schools can promote their own summer meal sites and/or meal sites in surrounding areas.

  • Send informational flyers home and e-mails to parents/guardians.
  • Including summer site location information in school newsletters.
  • Create a family resource webpage, similar to Southeast Polk CSD's Student and Family Assistance resource webpage that includes information on summer feeding sites.
  • Posting a link to the Summer Food Rocks Site Finder and the National Hunger Hotline phone number (1-866-3-HUNGRY) and text option (Text ‘Food’ or ‘Comida’ to 877-877) on the school’s webpage and social media pages. 

Outreach toolkit materials and templates can be found on the Iowa Department of Education Summer Food Service Program webpage.

 For more information, contact Stephanie Dross at 515-281-4760 or

Sports and Energy Drinks

5210 logo

Sports, energy or flavored water drinks are not good substitutes for plain water. They are made with lots of additives, sugar and caffeine, which can lead to an energy crash and dehydration.

For example, a small cup of coffee has 80–120 mg of caffeine, while a can of an energy drink has 505 mg of caffeine. A 32-oz. sports drink has nearly 50 grams of sugar, compared to a can of soda that has 30 grams.

Stick with water and avoid the caffeine, hidden sugars and sodium. You will quench your thirst and stay hydrated throughout the day! Try to add fruit and vegetables slices to your water to add some infused flavors! Some ideas to try: cucumber, lemon, lime, berries, mint leaves, and kiwi.

Healthy Choices Count! Find 5-2-1-0 resource at the Healthiest State Initiative!

Is Your School a Team Nutrition School?

Team Nutrition Banner

Sign up as a USDA Team Nutrition School and join a network of schools working towards healthier school nutrition and physical activity environments. Affirm your commitment to helping students make healthier food choices and be more physically active by signing up today!

Already signed up? Make sure your contact information is correct by looking up your school information. It's easy to update information!

We have a limited number of Team Nutrition banners available, please contact if you are interested!

SWITCH - School Wellness Opportunity


SWITCH is a program designed to help schools promote healthy lifestyles in schools through school-based wellness programming. Through SWITCH children are empowered to "Switch what they Do, View, and Chew!"

The program is currently active in 25 elementary buildings across the state of Iowa. Iowa State University is expanding the program next school year to include both elementary and middle schools. Participating schools will receive $1,000 to support school wellness implementation. For more information contact Ann Torbert at  

Digital Food Pictures

Food images

Are you on the hunt for pictures to improve food literary or classroom nutrition education programs? New images of food group items and mixed foods are now available at Dairy Council of California for free.