Dear County Superintendents, District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and K–12 Principals:
National Nutrition Month—March 2021
The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division commends schools across the state for stepping up during the past year to ensure our students have had uninterrupted access to nutritious meals. Since day one of this pandemic, school food service professionals, school leaders, and staff have been on the frontline providing services that support not only the whole child but the entire family.
Now more than ever, elevating the importance of good nutrition, access to healthy foods, eliminating food insecurity, and staying active are critical. We have learned much over the past year about resiliency, both physically and emotionally, the role of building and sustaining healthy habits for students, families, school personnel, and our own self-care.
March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM®) and this year’s theme is Personalize Your Plate. The theme honors diversity, individuality, and promotes the idea that nutrition and health are not a one-size-fits-all matter. During the month of March, I encourage you to celebrate the importance of nutrition, informed food choices, healthy eating habits, and being active.
While our school meals may not be a traditional plate or tray this year, consider how your schools can engage in NNM® in any way that best fits your student population, meal service, and scheduled events. Think about how you can elevate nutrition thorough your grab-and-go service, home delivery, meal kits, and physically-distanced breakfasts and lunches. Below are some ideas for celebrations:
- Implement a simple virtual lesson or physically-distanced activity such as a two-minute dance party, discuss Rethinking Your Drink or the importance of a healthy breakfast, introduce a fun and healthy brain break, or play an impactful video clip.
- Choose a healthy eating or activity concept as a theme for one week in March. Share the theme with staff and encourage the concept to be woven throughout lessons, activities, and meal service.
- Partner with a food bank to host a pop-up food donation party, invite a local farmer to your grab and go meal distribution or host an online farm or kitchen tour.
For more ideas, visit the Action for Healthy Kids Celebrate NNM® web page for ideas and resources.
For Nutrition Education and Cooking in the Classroom resources that can be adapted to virtual learning, visit the CDE’s Child Nutrition Programs Resource Library web page.
There are so many small and easy ways to celebrate NNM®. Don’t forget to post on social media and your school website!
For questions on promoting NNM®, please contact Desiree Rojo, Child Nutrition Consultant, by phone at 916-323-0213 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Frinzell, Director
Nutrition Services Division