School Nutrition Professionals: Rising Above the Everyday Challenges Angela Haney, SNSDirector of Student NutritionLos Lunas Schools, N.M. Angela Haney has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of her entire community. Learn more Angela Haney has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of her entire community. Within Los Lunas Schools, she added 15 sites for Summer Feeding programs, expanded the After School Snack program, and developed and helped pass Breakfast After the Bell legislation that allows breakfast to be served in the classroom during instructional time to ensure that every single student has access to breakfast. She also ensures that her staff has every opportunity to learn more about their craft and advance their skill set. Within the larger community, Angela is an avid supporter of farm-to-school initiatives to support local farmers and serves on the governor's Child Hunger Task Force.Menu Development When planning menus, school nutrition professionals must: Understand and abide by school meal regulations, including complex nutrition standards Ensure cafeterias have the necessary equipment and trained staff to prepare and safely serve each item to hundreds of students each lunch period; Meet the taste preferences of increasingly diverse student bodies; Stay on budget! Beth FreemanCafeteria ManagerHarford County Public Schools, Md. Realizing that most students ride the bus to school and arrive with only 20 minutes to spare before the first period begins, Freeman revamped her breakfast program to center around speed. Learn more Realizing that most students ride the bus to school and arrive with only 20 minutes to spare before the first period begins, Freeman revamped her breakfast program to center around speed. She added a "Grab & Go" line to make sure students were not missing breakfast because of time constraints. Then to generate "buzz" about the revamped program, Freeman offered sample tastings and implemented a "Red Carpet Academy Award" theme for breakfast, complete with costumes, decorations and fun games like "guess the movie quote." Freeman's efforts significantly increased her school's breakfast participation.In the Cafeteria School nutrition professionals who work at the "point of service" are on the frontlines of serving healthy school meals and encouraging students to embrace nutritious choices. These professionals take on a number of challenges and responsibilities including: Short lunch periods: Over-crowded schools and short lunch periods leave students with limited time to select and eat their meals. Cafeteria staff work hard to have meals plated in advance or ready for quick service to minimize students' time waiting in line. Food allergies: As more students suffer from food allergies, school nutrition professionals must identify potential allergens and protect affected children as they select their meals. SNA’s The State of School Nutrition 2014 survey found that schools are offering more options, such as gluten-free foods, for students with allergies and intolerances. Dawn LehmannFoodservice CookFox C-6 School District, Mo. Lehmann embodies the passion and commitment of school nutrition professionals, regularly volunteering her time to assist nighttime events at her school. Learn more Lehmann embodies the passion and commitment of school nutrition professionals. She regularly volunteers her time to assist nighttime events at her school- from Chili Suppers and Trivia Night to community events to raise money for worthy causes. Recognizing that many students and families in her community don't know the fundamentals of cooking, she joined a colleague in creating a class designed to teach the art and love of cooking and promote a healthier way of eating. On Thursdays after wrapping up her work in the school kitchen, Lehmann heads to the elementary school to teach the two-hour class for 4th-6th graders. Strict food safety standards: School meal programs are required to implement a school food-safety program based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) principles and receive two required health/safety inspections for each school kitchen. Identifying the reimbursable meal: Cashiers must ensure each student selects enough items for their meal to be eligible for a federal reimbursement. Every student must take a fruit or vegetable with their lunch and have a minimum of three meal components on their tray. Cashiers must carefully track the number of meals served and account for a la carte purchases. Speed is of the essence to prevent line delays! Encouraging students to take healthier options: Cafeteria staff work hard to make healthy school meals appealing to students and the cafeteria a warm and welcoming environment. Oftentimes, staff members are heard encouraging students to try their fruits and vegetables, and many students say the biggest smiles they see all day are in the lunch line.