Child Nutrition Program Newsletter

Alabama State Department of Education

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The CAN Approach to Healthier, Smarter Lunchrooms

Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab has been studying eating behavior and food psychology for decades. Extensive research has led to identifying three key methods for encouraging healthy choices at home, in grocery stores, in restaurants and in schools. It is called “The CAN Approach!” CAN stands for Convenient, Attractive, and Normal. The research has shown that making healthy food more convenient, attractive, and normal to eat, results in greater consumption of healthy foods and lower consumption of unhealthy foods.

Consider brainstorming with your staff ways this approach can be applied to lines at your schools in an effort to increase selection and consumption of nutritious meal components. The following ideas C.A.N. help you get started!


  • Offer healthy grab and go meals options
  • Place the healthiest option at the start of the line
  • Slice fruit so that it is easier for young children and students with braces to eat.
  • Position the salad bar in a highly trafficked area
  • Stock white milk in front of sugary beverages
  • Make white milk the easiest to reach


  • Highlight entrée options on an attractive menu board
  • Give entrees enticing, descriptive names (See video below)
  • Display whole fruit in baskets or attractive bowls
  • Brand white milk with fun stickers


  • Make the healthiest entrée option the “featured entrée” of the day
  • Create combo meals that pair entrees with healthy sides
  • Use self-serve utensils that hold the appropriate portion size (larger for veggies and smaller for dressings)
  • Pre-plate trays with the featured vegetable side
  • Fill all coolers with at least 1/3 white milk
  • Keep coolers replenished so they always appear full

For more information:

CAN Approach:

Additional lunchroom tips: PDF

Adapted from:

20/20 Interview Clip

Offer vs Serve Signage

There is a new requirement concerning Offer vs Serve signage posted near the serving lines.

Offer vs Serve signage must indicate that ½ cup fruit or vegetable must be taken for each reimbursable meal.

The signage (posters) that we provided to you do not meet this requirement as they were printed prior to the release of this requirement from USDA. You may still display the posters, but please also indicate that ½ cup fruit or vegetable must be taken. You may do this by making your own sign and attaching to the poster or posting near the serving line.

Revised posters that meet this requirement have been posted on our website.

Missing or inadequate signage will be a finding on administrative reviews. Please contact our office at the number below if you have questions.

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Samson Elementary's Samantha Ingram Recognized as a School Nutrition Hero!

Samantha Ingram (Sam) was 1 of 36 nominations for School Nutrition Heroes from 21 states. The Selection Committee of the School Nutrition Foundation(SNF) reviewed and rated all of the nominations...and Samantha Ingram, CNP Manager with the Geneva County School District, was chosen as one of the winners!!!

Sam and the 4 other award recipients will be recognized at SNF’s Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes, during School Nutrition Association’s 44th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C. The evening will celebrate extraordinary men and women in the school nutrition profession who make a difference in the lives of school children and go beyond their daily responsibilities. Congratulations Sam!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Woodstock Elementary is spreading love with the Healthy Bug!

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Bibb County Schools, Brent Elementary: Cool Healthy Snacks

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FFVP at Eastside Elementary in Chambers County. Mrs. Smith's class prepared a salsa with their tomatillas!

Eastside Elementary students also enjoyed tasting Bok Choy!

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Administrative Reviews

Administrative Reviews for SY 2015-2016 began November 2, 2015. To help SFAs prepare for this year’s reviews, the following items are posted under Financial Management and Compliance on our website:

Administrative Review Schedule

Administrative Review Preparation Guidance

Off-site Assessment Tool School Year 2015-2016

Your Pictures could be featured in the next CNP Newsletter!

Please send pictures of your activities to:

Cacyce Davis

*A photo release form for any pictures of children sent to ALSDE should be kept on file at the local office*

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