WHAT'S COOKIN January 2016

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A new year begins....well for our profession it really is the halfway point of the year. We have had a great year so far and our increased participation rates are evidence to the great things you are doing. We are meeting and in many cases exceeding our goals for the year. Keep up the enthusiasm and keep having fun with all the creative touches you are putting on your program. Kids are liking it!

Some things to look forward to for the first half of 2016:
-Lake House Cafe to open in February
-March we will celebrate National Nutrition Month
-Incorporating more "home cooked" recipes
-Focus groups at all schools
-Spring satisfaction surveys

Lucky Tray Day Starts

Elementary started a new promotion in December called "Lucky Tray Day". The purpose of this promotion is to create fun and excitement in our cafeterias as we know, a big part of getting our customer to keep coming back is to not only have great food, but to create a fun environment and experience for them. Thank you for making it a success. I saw so many of you having alot of fun right along with the kids.

Congratulations Mena

Mena Raheemi, Child Nutrition Assistant at Prior Lake High School has been recognized by PLHS for Employee of the Month. This is the second time she has received this honor within the past year! I have to say I'm not surprised....Mena is always incredibly friendly and helpful toward students and goes out of her way. Great customer service Mena-we are proud of you!
Part of providing great service is serving what your customers want. To do this we absolutely need their feedback. Sometimes we may not like to hear someone isn't satisfied...that is human nature. Don't let that stand in your way of communicating with students and using that info to keep improving your program. See the attached link for some great tips on gaining important input.

Archived Training Webinars Still Available

Did you miss an SNA webinar? No worries, SNA has them archived on their website. Go to to browse through their selection. Remember, these are FREE CEU's!

What's a Bento Box?

In January, elementary schools will be serving Bento Boxes which are a cold lunch option similar to a lunchable (but better and with more nutritious components). It's a Grab N' Go meal that contains bite sized portions and a variety of colors and textures. Historically it's a Japanese box lunch, "bento" refers to the meal and "bento-bako" refers to the container. Bento box lunches provide a complete meal (with a milk) and the container we are using is fully compostable and has 4 separate compartments. The goal is to provide a lunch option to those students who prefer cold lunches. Oh, and they aren't just for elementary students! The options are endless with this concept: we can put together an ala carte option with nuts and fruits with cheese and crackers for a grab and go protein pack for the older students as well. Good for students with after school activities!

Update on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Since the law expired in September, our legislators have been working toward finding common ground and agreement for the new Reauthorization. The following was stated on SNA's website in regards to the Child Nutrition Reauthorization status: "The Senate Agriculture Committee's Chair and Ranking Member Senator Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow recently provided insight into the status of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation in Congress. Both Roberts and Stabenow agree that there is still more to work through and expect that a bill will be available in January or early February in 2016. SNA will continue to monitor the status of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization in Congress and will keep SNA members informed as updates arise." SNA is advocating for an increase to the federal reimbursement to help offset the additional costs that the standards impose.

Upcoming Events for January

January 18: All Manager and Assistant Workshop Day at HOMS
-We will be testing recipes and creating March, April and May menus

January 21: Chef Training at Twin Oaks

January 26: Dan Patch Chapter 19 Meeting
-There will be a Bakery Tour at 7840 5th Ave. South Bloomington, MN 55420. RSVP by Jan 21st. It is worth 2 CEU's. RSVP to

January 25, 26, 27, 28, 29: Servsafe Series Training
-class will be daily from 2:30-4:30 at DSC

Holiday Fun

As I have visited your cafeterias in December, I enjoyed seeing the fun holiday atmosphere you all created. Everything from Santa hats, to helped to make it fun for the kids as they anticipate the holiday. Thank you for putting the time and effort in creating a great ambiance.