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In this Issue
September 2012

Fall Pathways Course Listing: Are You Up-To-Date with Sanitation?

Be A-WEAR of Your Vegetables

North Dakota Farm To School Week Resources Available

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Make Every Tray Count

National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, 2012

New Child Nutrition Staff

North Dakota Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day Coming Up October 2

New Requirement:  Half of the Grain Items Must Be Whole Grain Rich (WGR)

Lunch Meal Pattern

Fall Pathways Course Listing: Are You Up-To-Date with Sanitation?

The Fall Pathways Course Listing is on the Child Nutrition & Food Distribution web site under both the New & Hot and Training tabs. The registration form is included with the course listing. No mailings will be made of this listing. With all of the changes made over the summer – new meal pattern, NDFoods, six cents – we have decided to offer only two courses: Sanitation and Safety and Sanitation Update. Authorized reps and lead food service workers (LFSW) should make sure the information on the course listing is made available to all food service workers.

According to ND Code, the LFSW is required to attend a 10-hour Sanitation and Safety class within six months of being hired for that position. The LFSW must then complete a three-hour Sanitation Update training every five years thereafter.  Each individual completing the Pathways trainings for Sanitation and Safety or Sanitation Update will receive a certificate of training. We recommend that a copy of this certificate be placed in the individual’s personnel file.

The Child Nutrition office keeps records of the trainings in a Pathways database. Names of the LFSW are taken from NDFoods. The person listed as the LFSW in NDFoods should be the “head cook” for the site. Since an email address is not a required field in NDFoods, whether or not a person has an email address it does not qualify for why the person listed isn’t the head cook. Name changes of food service personnel due to marriage, divorce or other legal proceedings should be reported to our office so we can update the Pathways database.

There are a few other courses that can be taken instead of the Pathways version. Approved sanitation trainings can be found on the Child Nutrition & Food Distribution web site under the Training tab and clicking on the Sanitation Training Requirements link. If sanitation training other than Pathways is taken, a copy of the certificate verifying training was completed must be sent to the Child Nutrition office (either by mail or fax to 328-9566) so credit for the training can be input into the Pathways database.

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Be A-WEAR of Your Vegetables


With the start of the new school year, students will find changes in school meals that they may not welcome.  How can we encourage students to embrace these changes?  Unless the teachers want to dress up in fruits and vegetable costumes to make the children laugh, we need to find another way to get children excited about eating healthier.

First… overview.


In January of this year, new standards for school meals were unveiled by the USDA that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation for the first time in over 15 years.  These changes will raise standards for the nearly 32 million kids currently participating in school meal programs each school day.

Following the release of the new standards built around recommendations from an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine, the USDA received an unprecedented 133,000 public comments, resulting in several modifications.  One major modification is to phase in these changes over time.

The final standards are changes that parents are hopefully already doing at home, including:

•Offering students both fruits and vegetables every day of the week and ensuring they have a ½ cup of either for a reimbursable meal.

•Encouraging students to eat vegetables of certain colors which are higher in vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals which include:

  1.  DARK GREEN – broccoli, romaine, spinach, greens (mustard, kale, collard, turnip), dark green lettuce and watercress.
  2. DARK ORANGE/RED – carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and tomato juice.
  3. LEGUMES – black beans, garbanzos, kidney beans, pinto beans, split peas, edamame and lentils.
  4. STARCHY – white potatoes, green peas and corn.
  5. OTHER – green beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, celery, zucchini, iceberg lettuce and asparagus.

•Increasing offering of whole grain rich foods to 50 percent of those offered with later goals to increase to 100 percent.

•Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk.

•Limit calories and saturated fat based on the age of children being served.  Ensure all foods offered are TRANS FAT FREE and incorporate sodium restrictions (to be enforced later).


In order for our students to be excited about eating more fruits and vegetables, We need to be excited too!  We need to be good examples for our students and provide encouragement to make healthier choices.  We also need to make them aware of the new improvements in school meals to ensure compliance throughout the school year. 


As there are five vegetable subgroups and five days of the school week, it felt only natural to suggest we dress the part.  For every weekday in your chosen week, let’s dress the colors of vegetables.  We encourage everyone to participate from teachers to students to custodians to food service workers!

For example:
Monday – Dark Green – includes broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, greens (mustard, kale, collard, turnip), dark green lettuce and watercress.                        

Tuesday – Red/Orange – includes carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red peppers, pumpkin and tomato juice
            tomato hat.jpg                          
Wednesday – Legumes – includes kidney beans, split peas, black beans.  Wear brown, green or black.

Thursday – Starchy – includes potatoes, green peas and corn.  Wear cream/white, green or yellow.
adults veg.jpg
Friday – Other – Wear any color of any vegetable, you choose!

It is important to remember that these children are our future.  Hopefully, if they start eating healthy now, with the help of their parents, friends and teachers, they will continue to eat healthy throughout their lives.

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North Dakota Farm To School Week Resources Available

farm to school

CONTACT: Sue B. Balcom
ND Farm to School State Lead

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed North Dakota Farm to School Week Sept. 16-22 to encourage schools to partner with farmers in good eating and education opportunities.

There is a national trend towards healthy school lunches using food grown closer to home. USDA implemented a new meal pattern doubling the serving sizes of fruits and vegetables providing an excellent opportunity for small farmers to provide locally grown produce to neighboring schools.

School food service directors and instructors can find information about Farm to School as well as resources for recipes, activities and curriculum at FARRMS will also be offering webinars beginning the week of Aug. 27 for school employees to hear more stories about farm to school and learn how to implement a farm to school program in their district.

All school districts are encouraged to register events and pledges to use locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables in the schools during this week as well as during National Farm to School Month in October. The National Farm to School pledge page can be found at The North Dakota Farm to School logo may be used on all newsletters and correspondence to families. Please email for a high resolution logo.

North Dakota has deep agricultural roots; this week is an excellent opportunity to make the connection between farmers and food in North Dakota. All events should be reported to Sue Balcom, ND Farm to School State Lead to share with the National Farm to School Network in an effort to make every school a “farm to school”.

For more information about Farm to School or for assistance with finding a farmer or school to partner  with during Farm to School Week, please contact Sue Balcom, ND Farm to School State Lead at 701-527-5169 or email

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Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program PowerPoint that was shown at the June 6, 2012 training is available on our website at I want to encourage all participating schools to share this PowerPoint with school staff. It is an exciting year as the FFVP is now included in the new NDFoods claims for reimbursements.  Let me or Nancy know if you have any questions. Nancy: Kaye:

There are a few items to highlight for this year.

  • Operating salary cost should not exceed 30 percent of your total grant award
  • Grant funds cannot be used to pay overtime wages
  • Equipment: any single item more than $50 must be pre-approved. The equipment justification form is on web-site

FFVP grant does not allow:

  • Processed or preserved fruits/vegetables (canned, frozen, dried or fresh produce packed in light syrup)
  • Dip for fruit
  • Fruit sprayed with any flavorings
  • Fruit leather
  • Trail mix
  •  Nuts
  • Cottage cheese
  • Flowers
  • Fruit/vegetable pizza
  • Smoothies
  • Grapples- infused fruit with juice
  • Tofu
  • Raw sprouts
  • Coconuts

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Make Every Tray Count

USDA recently changed the Offer vs. Serve policy. Schools are still required to offer all five components, the student must take at least three components, one of the three selected components must be a fruit or vegetable or a mixture of fruits and vegetables.  Students must select at least half a cup of fruit and/or vegetable to make a reimbursable meal. We have developed a sign that can posted in your lunchroom to explain the rule. The sign is on our website under New and Hot

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National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, 2012

Celebrate National School Lunch Week (NSLW)! The theme of SNA’s National School Nutrition Week, for 2012 is “School Lunch: What’s Cooking?”

School Lunch – What’s Cooking?” is about celebrating the positive changes that have been made in school lunch programs. Schools nationwide have been cooking up all sorts of exciting programs and plans, and by participating in NSLW; you can showcase your accomplishments and educate your community about the importance of healthy school lunches.

Between new meal patterns, chef-inspired recipes and freshly prepared meals, there have been lots of great developments in school lunch. You already know what is unique, best, or special about your operation -- by participating in NSLW 2012, you can share your stories and increase community awareness of all the benefits of a healthy school lunch.

The campaign runs from July 2012 to October 2012, culminating in National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, 2012.

Check out the resources below and start cooking up your celebration ideas!

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New Child Nutrition Staff

Joe Oster
My name is Joe Oster. I presently live in Medora, North Dakota with my wife Amanda and two kids, Sophia and Isaiah.  I have been in the restaurant industry for the last seventeen years.  I have held many job titles within those years such as dishwasher, line cook, executive chef, and food service director.  I also have an elementary education degree and a few years of teaching experience.  I look forward to working with the Child Nutrition Programs assisting with monitoring reviews and providing training and technical assistance to schools and childcare programs.

Lesli Murch
My name is Lesli Murch.  I live in Hunter, ND with my husband Scott and our two boys Luke (4 years) and Grant (4 months).  I have a BS in Child Development and Family Science through NDSU.  I have worked in Head Start/Early Head Programs for the past 13 years.  I have been a teacher assistant, teacher and Education Services Coordinator.

I am excited for my role as Child Nutrition Specialist for the Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Programs where I will be monitoring reviews and providing training and technical assistance to schools, childcare programs and summer food programs.

Shayna Griffiths
My name is Shayna Griffiths and I am a licensed and registered dietitian with over 12 years experience in both the US and UK.  After living in the UK for the past 9 years, I moved back to Bismarck where I was born and raised to be nearer my family.  I am the mother of 2 ½ year old twin boys named Bryn and Dylan. 

I have worked as a dietitian for WIC, hospitals, and long term care facilities however, I am particularly excited about my most recent appointment as an Education Program Administrator for the Department of Public Instruction where I will be working with the Child Nutrition Programs assisting with monitoring reviews and providing training and technical assistance to schools and childcare programs.

Tara Koster
Hello, my name is Tara Koster.  I live in Mandan ND, with my husband Cory and my lovely daughter Taylor who is 6 (going on 13). I started with DPI Child Nutrition and Food Distribution on July 23RD 2012 as the office manager. I have 10 years of experience in the administrative field. I lived in Minneapolis, MN from 2000 to late 2004.  While there I worked at a Swimming Pool company as the warehouse / purchasing manager.  My husband and I moved back to ND in late 2004 so my husband could take a position with BNSF as a conductor. We were married in 2005 and had a daughter in 2006.  I worked at Recreation Supply Co. for about a year as an administrative assistant.  I took a couple years off working to stay at home with my daughter until preschool age.  I went back to work at a tax and financial firm as an administrative assistant.  Then found a job with DPI. I look forward to working with DPI Child Nutrition and Food Distribution. I love it so far!

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North Dakota Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day Coming Up October 2

The Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day has been moved to October 2 to take advantage of local foods harvested this fall. Schools across the state are encouraged to serve North Dakota products such as fresh produce, beef, pork, corn, potatoes, wheat, sunflower seeds, honey, milk, cheese and beans during this special week. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture will be sending out information about how to participate in the program. You can visit the ND Agriculture Department website.

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New Requirement:  Half of the Grain Items Must Be Whole Grain Rich (WGR)

As part of the USDA’s new standards for school meals unveiled this January, schools are now required to offer more whole grains.  For the2012/2013 school year, at least half of the grains offered must be whole grain rich at lunch.  For the 2013/2014 school year, at least half the grains offered must be whole grain rich at breakfast and lunch.  Finally, for the 2014/2015 school year, ALL grains offered must be whole grain rich. Food manufacturers are offering pizza with whole grain crust and corndogs with whole grain breading. The bread companies are offering WGR hotdog buns and hamburger buns. 

Currently, the USDA has set temporary criteria in determining if a product is whole grain rich.  To be considered whole grain rich, the product must have one of the following:

                •  Whole grains per serving of 8 grams or more.

                •  A FDA’s whole grain stamp on the label (picture below).


                •  Whole grain listed as the first ingredient, with the exception of water.

 Counting Bread/Grain Items

Bread/grain items can be rounded down to the nearest quarter ounce. This means a 2.2 ounce bun can be credited as just 2 ounces. Breading on chicken nuggets/patties/strips does not need to be counted in the bread limits this year. These items will need to be counted as bread servings next school year.

Grain items need to be a bread before they can be a wgr item. An item needs to have 14.75 grams of grain to count as one bread. This is going up to 16 grams next year but can be implemented right now. To calculate the amount of grain grams in a product take the carbohydrates minus the sugars.

Lunch Meal Pattern

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Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice).  Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).   USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
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