School Nutrition Association’s ANC 2015 Wrap-Up

Another successful year at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference!

Members of the Meals Plus Team were on-hand at the SNA’s Annual National Conference last week, including Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS. She wore many hats at ANC 2015 – attending general sessions, education sessions and was at the Meals Plus Booth during the exhibit hall hours handing out our collectible Salt Lake City lapel pins.

sna anc 2015Cynthia attended Sunday’s “Building a Financially Sustainable Meal Program” Education Session, where presenters including Jeremy West, CDM, SNS, of Weld County School District 6 (CO), illustrated how extremely important it is to know where your revenue comes from. Generating income outside of the standard breakfast and lunch hours is imperative. He recommended to “tell your story” with stakeholders, who are not only your students, but parents and district administrative staff as well. Don’t assume they know about your child nutrition program. If appropriate, share your business plan with them to optimize your department’s success. (For an in-depth look at the top indicators of your child nutrition department’s financial health, download our free white paper, “Fiscal Survival 101: Financial Success in the Era of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.“)

Menu boards were also a popular topic of conversation at ANC 2015. Obviously they are used as a dynamic menu board in the cafeteria, but they can be used for so much more. School announcements, themes such as homecoming week, farm-to-school promotions, nutritional information and advertising new menu items are all appropriate topics for your menu boards. Remember to keep them current and there is no need to overcrowd them. Simplicity is key. (Do you use video menu boards in your cafeterias? Check out the Meals Plus menu board interface!)

And of course there are two major items in effect this year for our industry: Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Professional Standards for School Nutrition Professionals. There are lots of free resources available to make these processes easier, including a Food Research and Action Center Child Nutrition Reauthorization webinar and a Training Tracking Tool from the USDA. Follow our blog and e-newsletter (subscribe to our newsletter here) for more free resources to help with reauthorization and professional standards in the coming months.

Thank you to the School Nutrition Association, the city of Salt Lake City, and everyone who helped make ANC 2015 a success! We can’t wait to see you all in San Antonio next year!