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Course Description

“Smart Options: School Meals Make a Difference in NC” is a continuing education course tailored for school nutrition professionals in North Carolina.  It features local success stories from across the state.  Smart Options covers the following key concepts: nutrition and physical activity guidelines, school nutrition regulation requirements, methods for serving quality school meals, strategies for linking the cafeteria to the classroom with nutrition education, ways to promote school meals, and school wellness.  School nutrition professionals may use the course to fulfill the Nutrition Education Core Course requirements for certification with the School Nutrition Association.

See specific content information below in "Attend and You Will Learn" section.

Who Should Attend

School nutrition professionals.

Attend and You Will Receive

A Certificate of Participation from North Carolina State University. Successful completion of this workshop also qualifies for professional development continuing education credit for learning code 1300 General Nutrition.

Attend and You Will Learn / Expected Outcome

Attend And You Will Learn

Upon completion of the Smart Options course, participants will be able to: 

Module 1 – Introduction

  • Understand the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States
  • Identify contributing factors to the development of overweight and obesity
  • Understand how overweight and obesity as well as diet and physical activity increase the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers
  • Explain how inadequate nutrition and inactivity can affect academic performance

Module 2 – Nutrition Know-How

  • Identify the calories and nutrients found in food and beverages
  • Determine the importance of nutrients in food and beverages
  • Identify foods and beverages that should be eaten to get these nutrients

Module 3 – Eat Smart

  • Demonstrate the difference between servings and portions
  • Demonstrate how to read a food label
  • Choose healthy options for foods and beverages

Module 4 – Move More

  • Explain adult, child and adolescent recommendations for types and amounts of physical activity
  • Demonstrate how to incorporate physical activity into daily life
  • Identify resources for incorporating more physical activity into the school day and daily life

Module 5 – Nutrition Guidelines

  • Describe how MyPlate, the Dietary Guidelines and the Food Label work together as the Food Guidance System
  • Understand the Dietary Guidelines
  • Explain the basic components of metabolism including nutrient intake and physical activity
  • Understand and explain MyPlate concepts

Module 6 – School Nutrition Regulations

  • Explain the food-based menu planning approach, including meal components, age/grade groups and pattern
  • Identify the dietary specifications for the Child Nutrition Program, including calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium
  • Understand the difference between Offer versus Serve and Choice
  • Describe a reimbursable meal
  • Understand the purpose of school meal regulations and consequences for noncompliance

Module 7 – Quality School Meals

  • Prepare and serve appealing, healthy, tasty and ethnically diverse quality meals according to Child Nutrition regulations
  • Understand the importance of, utilize and comply with standardized recipes
  • Identify healthy food preparation techniques
  • Use production tools, techniques and records to comply with regulations
  • Advocate for student selection of healthy school meals

Module 8 – Nutrition Education

  • Understand the importance of nutrition education
  • Recognize opportunities for nutrition education connecting the cafeteria and classroom
  • Identify and utilize nutrition education resources for the cafeteria and the classroom
  • Recognize nutrition goals and objectives as part of the Healthful Living Essential Standards
  • Evaluate nutrition education resources and messages from various sources for accuracy

Module 9 – Promoting School Meals

  • Promote school meals to administrators, teachers, students, and families
  • Gain support of administrators, teachers, students, and families
  • Identify and utilize marketing techniques and promotional resources
  • Plan promotional events, i.e., National School Lunch Week, National School Breakfast Week, National Nutrition Month, etc.

Module 10 – School Wellness

  • Understand the Local Wellness Policy Requirement as part of the USDA Child Nutrition Reauthorization
  • Recognize existing policies that support the Local Wellness Policy including the NC State Board of Education Healthy Active Children Policy, School Healthy Advisory Council (SHAC) requirement, and NC Nutrition Standards for Elementary Schools
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