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Articles in this issue of The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management focus on topics of concern to child nutrition professionals. Information found here may assist child nutrition directors in improving operation and management of child nutrition programs. Eight papers published in the Research in Action category cover a wide variety of topics. Several articles address challenges related to implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA). Others relate to school recipes, healthy foods, and food safety. Readers should keep in mind that all of these papers are based on research studies conducted prior to recent changes in nutrition standards related to HHFKA.

After surveying parents of K-12 children in Iowa, Golembiewski and associates recommend that school nutrition directors communicate with parents to enlist family support for school meals. In Indiana, Thiagarajah and co-researchers found that child nutrition managers and directors had concerns about increased food costs and student acceptance of vegetables and whole grain menu items. In Iowa, Cornish et al. explored professional networks and resources used by rural food service directors related to implementing HHFKA. These directors consult other directors, mostly in their geographical areas, and also frequently use the State Department of Education and vendors as resources.

Rushing and Johnson investigated perceptions of child nutrition professionals regarding the file of USDA school recipes available on the National Food Service Management Institute website. Survey results indicated that child nutrition directors at small school districts tend to use these recipes more frequently than those at larger districts. The authors concluded that improvements are needed in recipe variety and meeting today’s trends. Two other articles explored serving healthy foods in school cafeterias. Izumu and associates interviewed Alaskan school nutrition professionals concerning fish in school meals. An article by Stephens et al. summarizes opinions of Montana school nutrition staff and stakeholders regarding barriers to serving fresh, whole foods including equipment and training needed by staff.

After conducting a regional survey of food defense best practices used in schools, Klitzke and Strohbehn concluded that school nutrition directors need to involve school district administrators in food defense planning. Food safety practices for food sent on school field trips was the topic of a study by Sneed and Patten. Their results showed that improvement was needed in equipment used to maintain food temperatures and training for the teachers who handle food on school trips.

The Current Issues section of this JCNM issue includes two articles. Although most schools serve food in cafeteria lines, buffet-style, or ale carte, Coborn and associates suggest that overall health and well-being of school children might improve if family-style service was adopted as a food delivery system. Relating to locally grown produce, Landry et al. describe implementation of Farm to School Week in Mississippi and discuss ways to overcome barriers related to purchasing locally grown foods.

Readers are reminded that The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management is an online journal publishing issues twice yearly (April and November). We welcome submission of manuscripts in four categories: Research in Action; Commentary; Current Issues; and Practical Solutions.

Author guidelines are posted on the School Nutrition Association website at: https://schoolnutrition.org/resource/jcnm-contribution-and-reprint-guidelines/

Carolyn Bednar, PhD, RDN Editor