School Nutrition Announcements January 29, 2018

School Nutrition



FNS-640 SY 2016-17 Reporting Guidance


Grants and Contests

Montana No Kid Hungry and Montana Team Nutrition

The Second Annual #MTschooleats Photo Contest is just two weeks away!  There are three categories for prizes to help schools share photos of their delicious and nutritious meals. Contest runs from February 1st – March 31st.


Scholarships Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for scholarships to the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This event is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. To ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of the movement, scholarships are prioritized for farmers and farm support organizations, farm to college / hospital practitioners, early care and education providers, food service professionals, persons of color, and youth (through age 22). Learn more and submit your application at The deadline to apply is Feb. 12 at 8pm ET.


Montana Harvest of the Month Taste Test Competition Now Open!

Ready, set, taste test! Montana K-12 students can now enter the Montana Harvest of the Month (HOM) Taste Test Competition! The HOM Taste Test Competition is open to all Montana students enrolled in K-12 school, Montana K-12 schools, and Montana student clubs including, but not limited to: FCCLA, FFA, etc.

To participate students will take a leadership role in researching, preparing and/or serving a HOM taste test with Montana grown or raised foods from the HOM calendar in January through April 2018. Students are encouraged to conduct a taste test each month during the contest period. One entry per school or club per month can be submitted by the deadline May 4, 2018. Three entries will be selected to receive $100 for their school or student club.

This competition provides students an opportunity to lead their school or student club in eating healthy foods and promoting Montana agriculture. The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana schools and communities. For more information, contest rules, and to enter, go to: or contact Aubree Roth, Montana Team Nutrition Program,, (406) 994-5996.


Press and Events

National School Breakfast Week

March 5-9, 2018

Mark your calendar for National School Breakfast Week! This year’s theme, “I Heart School Breakfast,” encourages parents, students, and school officials to get social over school breakfast. Speaking a language kids understand, we’re ready to show-and-tell all the benefits of a healthy school breakfast.


Montana Food Bank Network 2016-2017 Montana School Breakfast Report

Montana Food Bank Network is excited to release our 2016-2017 Montana School Breakfast Report. The report examines access to and utilization of the School Breakfast Program across Montana. School Breakfast plays an essential role in reducing food insecurity, ensuring that every student can succeed academically.

This year, Montana schools continued to increase the number of students and meals served but the program remains widely underutilized. Just 1 in 4 students participate each day. Middle and High School students have particularly low rates of School Breakfast Program utilization, with an average daily participation of 1 in 5 and 1 in 6, respectively. This is in contrast to an average of 1 in 3 elementary school students that use the program daily.

For this reason, the report highlights Troy Public Schools for their work to implement Breakfast in the Classroom, an alternative breakfast serving model, at their Junior High and High Schools. Their success underscores the importance of tailoring School Breakfast to the needs of the students. This change greatly increased breakfast participation by their older students and represents one of many successes across the state in utilizing alternative breakfast serving models.

New this year, is the addition of our online School Breakfast Data portal. Visit our website to find interactive school and district level data to see how many students are participating in School Breakfast in your community!

For more information, contact Oscar Peña at or (406) 215-1771.


Training and Resources

The Food Buying Guide Goes Digital!

The Web-based Interactive Food Buying Guide allows you to: easily search and navigate food yields, compare food yields, and create and save favorite foods lists.



K-12 Food Waste Reduction Webinar

You may be able to save your district money, engage students and staff in exciting initiatives, and support environmental sustainability for your school / district – all by reducing food waste!


You're invited to attend a FREE webinar on Thursday, February 1 at 9:00 -10:00 AM. Reducing wasted food is a hot topic these days. This webinar is CUSTOMIZED for school administrators to learn more about logistics, opportunities, and solutions to reduce food waste in schools.


In the U.S. we throw away about 40% of the food all across our food system. This wasted food has significant economic, social and environmental impacts.  


You have a unique opportunity to be part of the solution and raise awareness of this topic with your students and school district staff.


Register here.

Katrina Brink, Sustainable Food Management Consultant for EPA Region 8 

RMC Consultants

(303) 505-6575​​​​


Beef to School Webinar

Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 2:00pm MST (4:00pm EST)

Join USDA's Office of Community Food Systems, Montana Beef to School Project, Montana State University, Montana Team Nutrition, and school food service directors to learn about successful strategies for serving local beef in schools. The webinar will explore the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources - including two new beef to school solicitation templates designed to help school districts purchase local beef! Participants will also hear from two school food service directors (including Jay Staff, Whitefish Public Schools) who will share their strategies and lessons learned for purchasing and serving local beef in schools.

Register today:


Wednesday Webinars

Wednesday Webinars are one hour free webinars that occur every Wednesday from 2 to 3 PM. They cover a hot school nutrition topic.  Plan to attend the January ones covering Menu planning, Offer versus Serve, Montana Harvest of the Month, and Spice it up (sodium lowering menu planning/production tips). No registration necessary. See this link for the schedule:

To participate in a webinar:

For more information, contact  406-444-4415


Let’s Eat: Engaging Students in Making Healthy Food Choices

Looking for a low-cost way to boost participation in your school meals program? See how Montana schools are engaging students in creating positive changes to school menus, salad bars, and creating a more inviting lunchroom to increase participation and decrease food waste. This free guide contains simple steps for engaging students in your lunch program and  provides 6 hands-on lessons for middle and high school students to use behavioral economics to attract more customers and nudge them to select healthy choices. It really works!

For more information, contact Molly Stenberg, Montana Team Nutrition at 406-994-7217


New Montana Team Nutrition Website is at this site:

2018 Montana Farm to School Summit

Mark your calendars to attend the 2018 Farm to School Summit on September 13-14, 2018 in Missoula.  This summit will inspire you and allow you to learn from and network with farm to school champions from our state and the nation.  The intent of the conference is to bring together farm to school stakeholders across Montana to learn and gain inspiration from each other while strengthening and building relationships with the end goal of increasing and enhancing farm to school programs throughout the state. This event will provide an opportunity to showcase outstanding programs and projects in the Missoula area to a statewide and national audience. The conference will increase engagement throughout the state by providing opportunities for student engagement, integrating native foods and culture, and connecting to rural food systems.  For more information: or contact Aubree Roth 406-994-5996


Action for Healthy Kids Fall 2017 Webinars

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Family Celebrations
Wednesday, February 14, 2:00 PM Mountain
Learn how to engage families with healthy and fun events that help support an overall culture of wellness at your school. Hosting an event that involves physical activity and healthy eating can help you promote healthy behaviors, share positive messages, educate and engage parents, and motivate kids.

PARENTS: check out Rock School Health Like a Boss

Thursday, February 15, 11:00 AM Mountain
We've teamed up with National PTA to bring you the best resources and tools to help make your school a healthier learning environment. This webinar will give you the information you need to help school administrators and school boards understand the importance of school health to academic success. 

Celebrating School Health with Every Kid Healthy Week
Thursday, February 22, 2:00 PM Mountain

Every Kid Healthy Week brings attention to the nation's problem of childhood obesity, but more importantly, to its solutions: sound nutrition, regular physical activity, health-promoting school programs and successful engagement of families and communities. Join this webinar to learn more about Every Kid Healthy Week and how you can host an event to join the national movement.

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga in the Classroom
Wednesday, March 14, 1:00 PM Mountain

Learn about integrating yoga into a classroom environment, including how to use simple yoga-based movements and practices to increase physical fitness, student focus and academic performance! 

Helping Kids Learn Better with Healthy School Meals
Thursday, March 22, 12:00 PM Mountain
Kids who eat healthy school meals have fewer absences and higher academic achievement. Learn how national school meal programs work and how parents and community members can deepen support, trust and meaningful collaboration with nutrition services staff to create a healthier school food culture.

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Snacking
Wednesday, April 11, 2:00 PM Mountain

Join us for tips to help spice up your snacking routine with fun and healthy snacks for all ages. Learn about easy, healthy snacks you can serve during or after school and as part of school celebrations.

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...and Recess
Thursday, April 19, 11:00 AM Mountain

Recess is more than just fun and games. It helps kids think creatively, make friends, share and resolve conflicts. Kids need recess, but schools are cutting out that time for more academics. Join us to learn more about why recess is important and how you can advocate for better recess in your schools.

Wellness Wednesday: How to Show Your Volunteers They’re Valued
Wednesday, May 9, 2:00 PM Mountain
The end of the school year is a great time to show all the family and community members who have helped support your school health efforts throughout the year just how much you appreciate them. Join us to hear some creative ways other schools have thanked their volunteers and engaged them to become even more active in the future.

School Digs (or Raising the Bar and Profits with Healthy School Fundraisers)
Thursday, May 17, 11:00 AM Mountain
Whether it’s the cafeteria, the playground, the classroom or another area on your campus, kids need to get the same message everywhere: Be Active & Eat Healthy! This webinar is designed to show you where campuses can improve to make sure that kids are getting the right message.


FRAC Webinars

Afterschool Meals Matter

School Nutrition Departments and the Afterschool Meal Program
February 15, 2018 11:00 AM Mountain
Schools are natural sponsors and partners to operate Afterschool Meal Programs. School Nutrition Departments have the food service experience, economies of scale, and established systems to provide meals at educational programming in and out of school buildings while adding revenue that supports overall school nutrition operations. This call will cover the role of school nutrition departments in expanding Afterschool Meal Programs and provide examples of school districts that are working with afterschool program coordinators, staff, and anti-hunger organizations to build stronger, sustainable programs.

Summer Meals Matter

Developing High-Quality, Appealing Summer Meal Menus
February 1, 2018 11:00 AM Mountain
Healthy, appealing meals help attract children and teens to Summer Nutrition Program sites and keep them returning all summer long. To ensure meals are high-quality, sponsors and site coordinators can communicate with vendors to tweak menus, increase the amount of fresh foods being served, and survey children to determine favorite items. Hear from sponsors and sites about ways to enhance the nutrition quality and appeal of summer meals in every community.