Dear County Superintendents, District Superintendents, Chief Business Officials, and Food Service Directors:
National Nutrition Month—March 2023
On behalf of the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and commend school food service professionals, school leaders, and staff across the state for leading the national movement to provide access to quality and nutritious school meals to all students through the Universal School Meals Program (UMP). Beginning this school year, and as a result of the dedication and commitment of your staff, the UMP has provided all students in California access to a nutritious breakfast and lunch each school day at no cost to them. Now, we are more than half way through the inaugural year of this historic program; let us all celebrate this important milestone during National Nutrition Month® (NNM®).
The month of March is NNM®. This month is the perfect time to celebrate and recognize both the importance of quality nutritious meals and the role that food service professionals play in supporting student health, school meals, and learning. During the month of NNM, The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) is also an option to incorporate into NNM, the week of March 6–10, 2023. NSBW focuses on highlighting the importance of a nutritious school breakfast in fueling students for success!
This year’s NNM® theme is Fuel for the Future. School meals provide fuel each and every school day for our California students. Food service professionals are continuously developing, collaborating, testing, and re-testing their menu offerings. They are incorporating fresh, locally grown, minimally processed, scratch cooked, and even organic foods to ensure quality meals that not only fuel students through their school day, but inform and impact their food choices for the future.
Consider how your schools can celebrate your successes and accomplishments during NNM®. Below are some ideas of ways to celebrate your school’s meals, and your dedicated food service staff:
- Decorate the cafeteria and campus using the NNM® Fuel the Future theme
- Highlight the locally grown, fresh, and scratch cooked meals that fuel students’ school days during morning announcements and in the March menus
- Create a Gratitude Board (online or in the cafeteria) for the food service professionals who plan, prepare, and cook quality school meals
- Post photos of new meals that are sourced locally, fresh, and scratch cooked on social media using the hashtag #NationalNutritionMonth
- Highlight and thank one food service professional each day in the month of March during your morning announcements
- Share the NNM® Fuel the Future theme with teachers and staff and encourage the concept to be woven throughout lessons, activities, and meal service
- Launch a new meal, food item, or side dish in March in honor of NNM®
- Share examples of breakfasts that fuel students on social media during NSBW, the week of March 6–10, 2023, using hashtags #NationalNutritionMonth and #NSBW23
- Engage with families to discuss the importance of school meals and why the collection of meal applications is essential to their student’s educational experience and access to healthy meals
For toolkits and more celebration ideas, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics EatRight.org NNM® web page . For more about NSBW, visit the School Nutrition Association web page .
There are so many ways to celebrate NNM®, there is bound to be something that fits your student population, campus, meal service, and scheduled events!
Your partnership is critical to the successful implementation of California’s Universal Meals Program. We encourage you to continue to communicate to families the availability of this program and the critical role that completed and returned school meal applications play.
For questions on promoting NNM®, please contact Desiree Rojo, Nutrition Education Specialist, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Frinzell, Division Director
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education