NFSMI Newsletter


Team Up for School Nutrition Success!

teamup-newsletterNFSMI, in conjunction with USDA, hosted 100+ attendees for the Team Up for School Nutrition Success pilot workshop for school nutrition professionals in the USDA Southeast region on November 12-13, 2014, at The Institute.  The workshop provided customized technical assistance by pairing participants with a mentor from a district of comparable size.  The workshop also provided sessions of best practices in key operation areas that included menu planning, plate waste, increasing participation, and financial management.  Prior to attending the workshop, participants utilized a pre-assessment tool to assess their current operation.  Additionally, NFSMI’s Applied Research Division trained the mentors on how to utilize a research-based coaching model that enabled participants to navigate through their specific areas of concern.  Team Up participants worked to develop personalized goals, strategies, and an action plan to take back to their districts.  NFSMI plans to provide a 3, 6, and 12 month follow-up evaluation of those participants who wish to participate. [Read More…]

MyPlate Helps You Put Your Best Fork Forward during National Nutrition Month

#MyPlateMyWins for National Nutrition Month image has everything you need for National Nutrition Month®!

What do you think of when March rolls around? Basketball fans are probably gearing up for March Madness, history buffs might think of Caesar and the Ides of March, and then there’s the proverb that March comes in like a lion and out like lamb (or is it in like a lamb and out like a lion?)… Anyway, for dietitians and other nutrition professionals, March means National Nutrition Month®! It’s the month when we really shout our healthy eating message from the rooftops! Not that we’re shy about it the rest of the year, but still, March is special!

Whether you are a dietitian, educator, parent, or someone who is just trying to eat a bit better, has lots of materials to support your efforts during National Nutrition Month®. Here are some key resources to check out:

  • Interactive Tools
    If you’re looking for something more interactive, MyPlate has online tools to meet your needs. SuperTracker is our free food and physical activity tracking website. Use it at home or on the go to get a personalized healthy eating plan and see how your choices stack up. Plus, there’s the What’s Cooking recipe site to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. Not to mention our fun MyPlate quizzes to test your food group knowledge.

For more healthy eating tips and resources, follow MyPlate on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up for MyPlate email updates.

Happy National Nutrition Month®!

Continuing the Challenge: Achieve MyPlate Everyday

MyPlate Challenge Participation graphic

This year’s MyPlate New Year’s Challenge participants turned their New Year’s resolutions into real solutions by making small changes over time.

Congratulations to everyone who joined us for the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Over the course of these last five weeks, participants incorporated each of the MyPlate food groups – dairy, fruits, vegetables, protein foods, and grains – into their days in an effort to find and maintain a healthy eating style while being physically active. Over 400 people took on the MyPlate-sponsored challenge, and many others used SuperTracker to host their own challenges. To all of you we say, “Way to go!” You all proved that making small changes to your daily routine can lead to big wins for your health.

Now that you’ve mastered the challenge, it’s important to continue using the lessons you’ve learned to maintain your healthy eating solutions. What tips, tricks, and real solutions did you discover and utilize to fit all five MyPlate food groups into your meals? That’s what MyPlate, MyWins is all about – finding a healthy eating style that works best for you and your family.

Corey, a Nutritionist on the MyPlate team, incorporated MyPlate into her daily life by keeping her kids involved in meal prep. She says, “With hectic schedules, dinnertime is always a little crazy! Giving my kids something to help prepare keeps them occupied and gets them interested in trying their own creation. Surprisingly, salad prep is their favorite job because they can mix and match lots of colors!” Like Corey, you can find real solutions that become habits for you and your family! For more tips from our team, and share your real solutions for a healthy new year on social media using #MyPlateMyWins, please visit’s Stories from Families and Individuals page.

You started 2017 on the right track; now keep up the momentum! Use USDA’s SuperTracker to keep yourself accountable. You can track your progress by logging your food and physical activity every day. SuperTracker’s Food Tracker tool will allow you to see how your food choices stack up to your food group targets and daily limits. The Food-A-Pedia feature can help you compare your favorite foods’ nutrition information to see what you’re really eating and find healthier alternatives that taste just as good! If you thrive off of competition, take advantage of SuperTracker’s custom challenge tool and keep the spirit of the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge alive. Build your own healthy eating and physical activity challenge for you, your friends, family members, a youth group, or a classroom.

We’re already six weeks into the New Year; keep using your real solutions to make healthy choices. Let MyPlate, MyWins continue to guide you in your journey towards healthy eating this year and into the future. For more healthy eating tips and resources, visit, follow MyPlate on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email updates.

MyPlate Staff Gets Real With Healthy Eating Solutions for the New Year graphic

Visit our website for more tips, tricks, and stories from people like you!

The New Year is in full swing! As the dust settles from the holiday season, many of us Americans are back into our regular routines at work, school, and home. Unfortunately, our regular routines can present some of the biggest challenges in maintaining the New Year’s resolutions that we promised ourselves we would finally keep this year. That’s why in 2017, MyPlate, MyWins messages are centered on finding your Real Solutions to healthy eating. Taking small, realistic steps can ensure that healthy eating becomes a part of your lifestyle rather than a fad that fizzles out after the holiday season.

Our MyPlate team members know that a little encouragement can go a long way. That’s why our staff has created a compilation of our own Real Solutions to share with you. These tips and tricks help each of us maintain healthy eating and physical activity as a priority in our diverse lifestyles, and we hope that they will inspire you as well. Keep your eye out for these tips on MyPlate’s Twitter and Facebook, or visit the Stories from Families & Individuals page on!

Do you have your own New Year’s Real Solutions? We would love to hear them! Share your story on our website or on social media using #MyPlateMyWins. Cheers to a happy and healthful 2017!

MyPlateMyWins testimonials from the team

The MyPlate team knows that the struggle is real… but so are the solutions! These are just a few of our MyWins for the New Year.

SNAP E&T Learning Academy Builds National Leadership for the Program

A woman working

States use SNAP E&T programs to prepare individuals for in-demand jobs, help employers find qualified workers and strengthen the state’s economy.

As the labor market continues to strengthen, so too are SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) programs across the country. Since 2014, FNS has diligently worked with states to grow their SNAP E&T programs and adopt more effective, employer-driven practices that help SNAP participants find not just any job—but a good job that reduces their need for SNAP.

These efforts have been successful. The program has grown to serve more than 1 million SNAP participants each year and more and more states are seeking best practices and expertise on how to build a quality program that gets people jobs. The demand for this program is growing—and rightly so—the SNAP E&T program is one of the strongest assets we have to ensure that every SNAP participant has the opportunity to gain the skills they need to find a good job.

In October, Under Secretary Concannon announced a new initiative aimed at creating the national expertise we need to take this program to scale. This unique project provides an opportunity for 35 individuals to gain technical expertise on SNAP E&T that prepares them to work within their state or across multiple states building job driven SNAP E&T programs.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the selected participants for the SNAP E&T Academy. This year’s class looks outside of the traditional SNAP stakeholders and brings in new voices to the SNAP E&T community. Participants from community colleges, hunger coalitions, state advocacy organizations, local workforce boards, national nonprofits, providers and state SNAP agencies will join their fellow participants to work on individual SNAP E&T projects. These efforts are designed to develop effective and high-quality SNAP E&T programs in their state or across multiple states. All final participants were selected based on a competitive application process.

We look forward to learning and working with SNAP E&T Academy participants in 2017 as they forge new ground across the country!

Visit the SNAP to Skills site to read more about the 2017 SNAP E&T Academy participants.

Lunchtime: Small Changes – Healthy Rewards

MyPlate New Year's Challenge Week 3 graphic

Welcome to Week 3 of the #MyPlateChallenge!

Welcome to Week 3 of our 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! Last week we focused on the Fruits Food Group and healthy solutions for breakfast. There are still three weeks remaining in the Challenge and it isn’t too late to join – sign up today and invite others to participate with you. This week, we will focus on the Vegetables Food Group and how small changes during lunch can help add more vegetables to your day. The winner of the Week 3 challenge will be announced on Monday, January 23rd, so make sure you check in to see if you secured the top spot!

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Adding vegetables to your meals can help you feel full with fewer calories. Also, higher intakes of vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. When shopping for frozen or canned vegetables, use the label to look for vegetables without added sauces, gravies, butter, or cream and for “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” or “no salt added” options. Choosing a variety of vegetables throughout your day (and week) will provide you with a range of nutrients. And remember to make time for physical activity!

Lunchtime is a perfect opportunity to include more vegetables in your day and help you earn points in the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge. For example, instead of having a bag of chips with a sandwich, try a side of baby carrots which are just as crunchy but lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Another tip is to add extra vegetables next time you make a soup or stew for dinner, and save a portion for lunch the next day. Packing your lunch is not only a timesaver on busy days; it’s also a cost saver over purchasing lunch on the go.

Check out our video for more ideas to Make Small Changes at Lunch:

MyPlate has several resources to help you make small changes that add up to long-term solutions for healthy eating, such as USDA’s recipe website, What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, and our new Make Small Changes webpage that provides healthy eating solutions for every meal. Check out our tips for adding vegetables to your days well as those for eating at an Italian restaurant, in the dining hall, or at a potluck. And remember to share your own tips and real solutions for healthy eating in 2017 using #MyPlateMyWins.

For more healthy eating tips and resources, visit, follow MyPlate on Facebook and Twitter, join or use SuperTracker, and sign up for email updates.