At the end of this month we will beign our annual Thanksgiving holiday hiatus. As this holiday approaches, we woud like to show our great appreciation the HCS food service professionals who perfom such a challenging job every day. Our employess are tireless individuals who are the main reason that the HCS Child Nutrition Program is able to function in the efficient and effective manner that it does. Also, we wnat to send out a special thank you to all of the awesome CNP workers around the country that feed children each day.

We also want to wish everyone a wonderful and much needed Thangiving break. Please stay safe and healthy and most of all relax and have fun as you spend time with loved ones and eat a filling and tasty Thanksgiving dinner.

- H. Ward

Inspirational Quote of the Month

"Start your day in an upward direction, and the rest of the day will follow the uphill path."Vernon Howard



Positions available:

  • CNP Worker

  • Lead CNP Worker

  • To apply for a position with Huntsville City Schools, you must complete an online application with the Alabama State Department of Education. Just Click the Link below to start the process

Standard Application Login (


9 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, so why not go ahead and splurge? Because gaining weight during the holiday season is a national pastime. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays -- and keep the extra weight permanently.

But Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight, experts say. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

1. Get Active

Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. Eat less and exercise more is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.

Make fitness a family adventure. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together.

2. Eat Breakfast

While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast -- such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk -- so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering.

Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices.

3. Lighten Up

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. There is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie ingredients.

Try using fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods. You can also try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

4. Police Your Portions

Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.

Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods.

5. Skip the Seconds

Try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Leftovers are much better the next day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for a delectable dessert. Choose the best bets on the buffet. While each of us has our own favorites, keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others.

White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, thin gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories. However, if you keep your portions small, you can enjoy whatever you like.

6. Slowly Savor

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

7. Go Easy on Alcohol

Don’t forget those alcohol calories that can add up quickly. Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer and between alcoholic drinks, enjoy sparkling water. This way you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober.

8. Be Realistic

The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.

This way, at the start of the new year you will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any weight over the holidays.

9. Focus on Family and Friends

Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet.

For more information on healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle, please contact a Medical West Dietician at 481-7934.



Report: Limit added sugars in school meals

(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The federal government should adopt school nutrition guidelines that limit added sugars in school meals, according to the 2021 School Meals Report Card, published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. The guidance recommends the USDA restrict added sugars to no more than 10% of total calories in school meals.

Full Story: K-12 Dive

General Mills to debut Cheerios variety for schools

General Mills will roll out the Honey Cheerios variety developed for school meal programs in March. The variety is available in 1-ounce-equivalent bowl packs and 2-ounce-equivalent cups and meets federal Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines, according to the company.

Full Story: Food Business News (free registration)

RD: Peanut butter may not always be a vegan option


Plain peanut butter generally may be considered vegan, but some brands may add ingredients such as honey or milk for additional flavor, which moves them out of the vegan category, said registered dietitian Dalina Soto. Peanut butter is a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium and monounsaturated fats.

Full Story: Well+Good


Mrs. Samantha Crutcher, CNP Supervisor McDonnell Elementary

Mrs. Samantha Crutcher has been employed with Huntsville City Schools for over 23 years in the Child Nutrition Program. She is originally from Huntsville, Alabama but she has also lived in Athens, Alabama. She has been married for 10 years and has six children named Antwon, Tabitha, Shanta, Damone, Trevion, and Amunda. Samantha also has four grandchildren named DeAsia, Te’Asia, NyAsia and Travis Jr. She describes herself as a hard-working individual who does things by the book. She also loves cooking, baking, hosting family events, and doing private catering functions.

Prior to working in the Child Nutrition Program, Samantha worked at M & M Microfilm Company for 15 years. She says that what she likes most about her job is that she gets to serve hot and nutrition meals for students.

When Samantha is not working, she loves to cook for her family and friends. She feels that she is motivated in Child Nutrition by her love for the job itself. Samantha states that the highlight of her career is when she retires because she has spent 25 years doing what she loves and that so many people have benefited from her service. Her favorite food is steak and potatoes. She expresses that she is exceptional at preparing food and organizing catering events. Samantha’s favorite music is Gospel and R & B. Most people may not know that Samantha does not care for seafood.

Samantha explains that the children keep her working in Child Nutrition. She also conveys that if she were not involved in the Child Nutrition Program, then she would be working in a hospital maintaining patient records. Her hobbies include shopping and cooking. She feels that the Child Nutrition Program is important because without the program, many students would not receive a hot meal. Her favorite sport is College football where she cheers for the Alabama Crimson Tide. She hopes to one day visit Hawaii. In the next five years Samantha plans to be retired and enjoying her life to the fullest. She defines success as being the best you can be at what you do.



Sheila Shockley 11/1

Vivian Turner 11/1

Brandi Freeman 11/4

Gwen Graham 11/11

Martha Mangrum 11/16

Rebecca King 11/25

Crystal Majors 11/25

Kembra Atkins 11/26

Tamika Herron 11/29


Latoya Jennings 23 years

Tamika Herron 16 years

Semyra Sallings 15 years

Ingrid Lawler 8 years

Roshun Langford-Manning 5 years

Wanda Akukwe 5 years

Jennifer Jones 4 years

Pam Horton 4 years

Vivian Turner 4 years

Kimberly James 3 years

Michelle Bunnell 3 years

Maggie Daniel 2 years