Friday Focus

March 24, 2023


message from the director

March is National Nutrition Month and a good time for a spring refresh. As the weather breaks and we spend more time being active outside, those heavy, warm comfort foods of winter can give way to more in season fruit and vegetables. My friend, Dr. Beverly Girard has wise, easy and practical advice on improving your own nutrition in the article below. Spoiler: you probably already heard this from your Mom. Other great pearls of wisdom include, "Take care of yourself, you can't pour from an empty cup," and my personal favorite, "Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live." Read about the Dr. Yum Project. Their Meal-O-Matic system is an easy way to plan and create your own personal meals (think Hello Fresh or Blue Apron) with what you have on hand. Have a very happy Spring Break and remember to practice self care. Everyone benefits when they get the best version of you.

With gratitude,


The Cafeteria Classroom

Of all the great and creative ways you market your programs, my favorite promotions are always when you link the cafeteria and classroom. Middle schools serve medieval lunches when students study feudalism, schoolwide reading of Stella Diaz is reinforced with a special meatball (Stella's favorite) lunch, celebrating Thomas Jefferson's birthday with his favorite foods and reminding families of picture day by promoting a Say Cheese lunch. This month, Kat Jones at Memorial is tying the cafeteria to the schoolwide reading of Charlotte's Web with her hilarious "Some Lunch!" menu. These promotions are a way to play a part in students' education. The cafeteria and kitchen are the greatest learning labs in a school!
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Dr. Yum Project

From USDA and the National CACFP Association

Here at the Doctor Yum Project we believe that cooking does not have to be complicated in order to be healthy and delicious. That's why we have designed meal•o•matic to help you make a few basic recipes with the ingredients you love. Design your own personalized meals based on the ingredients you have on hand, your favorite flavors, or your own dietary needs. No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen, using the meal•o•matic is easy and fun for the whole family!

Four Steps Toward Better Nutrition

From CN Executive

Beverly Girard, PhD, MBA, RD, SNS

You are what you eat. We hear that all the time, but it is nonetheless true. A healthier lifestyle starts with four vital steps:

1. Eat Your Veggies

It looks as if Mom was right all along. Eating lots of vegetables is a great way to stay healthy. Vegetables are filled with key vitamins and minerals, and are an excellent source of fiber.

They also provide antioxidants, which protect cells from free radicals, and help to ward off chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Typically, vegetables are lower in

calories than most other foods, and they offer variety and satiety to our diets. It is better to fill up on broccoli than it is on refined carbohydrates.

2. Eat Your Fruit

Whole fruits are nature’s candy. There’s nothing better than a crisp red apple, a luscious pear, a perfectly ripe banana, or even perfectly dried raisins or dates. Fruits, like vegetables, provide

an amazing array of nutrients and fiber, and leave us feeling good about our nutrition decisions. Every now and then, a glass of juice is fine, but for the most part, eat whole fruit. It offers a complete nutritional package of vitamins, minerals, antioxidantsand fiber.

3. Focus On Real Food, Simply Prepared

Real food tastes great, yet so many people’s diets consist of highly processed foods. The reasons: a busy schedule, lack of time, or disinterest in preparing their own meals. That is not

good, because packaged food items, convenience foods, and even take-out foods, tend to be high in fat and sodium. On the other hand, meals prepared simply, and consisting of

vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and sweet fruit are nutritionally superior, and they leave you feeling great. Meals that contain refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, white

rice, and desserts, lack the nutrients and the fiber people need on a daily basis, leaving them nutritionally inferior to their whole grain counterparts.

4. Drink Up!

Our bodies need water to effectively and efficiently carry nutrients to our cells, and to help the brain, heart, muscles, and digestive system perform at their best. According to the

U.S. Geological Survey, the human body is comprised of about 60 percent water, the brain is 75 percent water, the heart is 79 percent water, and blood is 83 percent water. Even bones are

made up of 22 percent water. That is why it is so important to

ensure that our bodies stay well hydrated.

These four steps are not hard to take. And they can do so much good for our bodies. So do yourself a favor in 2023, and get back to the basics of good nutrition.

Indiana NSBW Scrapbook

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) published a collection of photos from NSBW celebrations across the state. I submitted all the great photos you sent to me and you can see them here by clicking the link below. It's also interesting to see how other school corporations promoted this event.

It's Bid Season!

Spring signals many things, but for me it is bid season. Our federal programs require strict procurement methods when making purchases. The bid process ensures competitive pricing for food and cafeteria supplies which is responsible use of the $3 million federal dollars we spend annually. Did you know that one of the regulations we must follow is the Buy American Provision? Our food must be sourced from the USA unless it is not grown here, like bananas, or is out of growing season in the USA and is only available from other countries. If your school is reviewed by IDOE, you will see the auditor look through coolers and freezers to see where your produce is from. This procedure ensures that we are supporting American farmers in our child nutrition programs.
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From Magnetic Ag

If you're a pro sports fan or have a kid that plays youth soccer, you know all about artificial turf. And soybeans want in on the green wave. And it's no wonder. The artificial turf market is apparently set to reach $7B (yes, billion with a B) by 2025. Now the United Soybean Board has partnered with SYNLawn to make a new soy-based synthetic grass by using soybean oil instead of petroleum-based polyurethane.

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digital resources


Any permanent employee (including substitutes) interested in any of these positions can apply by emailing a brief letter of interest to Kathy Kane, Director at

Non-employees can apply by completing an online application as an External Applicant here:

FS Tech, TJM, 4 hours

FS Tech, SELF, 5.5 hours

FS Tech, Flint Lake, 4 hours

2022-23 Calendar

March 27-31, 2023 - Spring Break, No School (No Work)

April 7, 2023 - Half Day K-12 (Regular Work Day)

April 10, 2023 - No School (No Work Day unless used as Weather Make Up Day)

May 25, 2023 - Half Day K-12 (Regular Work Day), Last Day of School

May 26, 2023 - Regular Work Day, Close Kitchens

May 30, 2023 - Summer School Begins

Check out myschoolmenus!

You can also download the free myschoolmenus app!

Did you miss an issue of Friday Focus?

Past issues of Friday Focus are posted on our department website on the Staff Training page here:


About Us

Our mission is to support academic and lifelong success by nourishing students and building healthy eating habits.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.