What's New in School Nutrition?
From Cafeteria to Classroom: Make learning connections with CMSD School Nutrition in May
Spring is in full swing! This year, CMSD School Nutrition is providing educators across the district with resources to connect what scholars are eating in the cafeteria to what they are learning in the classroom. Each month, we will highlight special meal days, holidays, and birthdays featured on our menus. We’ll also include food facts to help educators engage with students about positive nutrition.
What’s on the Menu?
- National Salad Month
- Gifts from the Garden Month
- National Pizza Day: May 20th
- International Harry Potter Day: May 2nd
- Star Wars Day: May 4th
- School Lunch Hero Day: May 6th
- National Frog Hopping Day: May 13th
- Tap Dance Day: May 25th
English Language Arts tie-in (Grades K-5): Friday May 6th is National School Lunch Hero Day! To thank our school lunch heroes, have students write notes to the school lunch staff. Younger students can write a thank you note and draw a picture, and older students can tell a story of a time they remember in the lunchroom. Have students deliver their notes at lunch on Friday to thank our awesome school lunch staff!
Social Studies tie-in: Heritage, Human Systems, Places and Regions (Grades K-3): Pizza is an American favorite, and different regions have their own take on the dish. Share examples of different pizzas with students (ie: New York Style, Chicago deep-dish, thin crust, etc). Have students think about why there are so many different styles of pizza. Ask the students to identify pizza styles that they’ve eaten. This is a good resource for images and information: https://kids.kiddle.co/Pizza_in_the_United_States
Birthday Buzz: Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright and activist. She is the youngest Black woman to have produced a Broadway show, and is best known for her play A Raisin in the Sun. She is also youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award.
Biography: Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19th, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the youngest of four children, and her grandmother was a freed enslaved person. In 1938, Lorraine’s family moved to a white suburb. While there, white neighbors attacked their house, including throwing bricks through their window. The Hansberry’s refused to move until a court ordered them to. They fought the decision all the way to the Supreme Court (Hansberry v. Lee), where it was ruled that the neighbors were not allowed to force the Hansberry’s to move.
Lorraine Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin for two years before moving to New York City, where she began her writing career at Freedom, a progressive Black newspaper. Later, she submitted letters about feminism and homophobia for a magazine called The Ladder. Throughout this time, Lorraine Hansberry was writing her show, A Raisin in the Sun, named after a line in a Langston Hughes poem. After touring independently, the show premiered on Broadway on March 11th, 1959, and was an instant success. In 1961, A Raisin in the Sun was adopted to a film and won an award at the Cannes Film Festival. Beginning in 1963, Lorraine Hansberry became active in the civil rights movement. In 1964, she released another show, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the same year. She died on January 12th, 1965. A Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway play produced by an African American woman and continues to be a success, with Emmy-winning television adaptions and revivals of the play winning multiple Tony Awards.
History tie-in (Grades 6-8): Lorraine Hansberry was very active in the civil rights movement. Using this website (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement) or similar information, have students (either individually or in groups) choose a civil rights leader, event, or legislation to research either during class or as a larger, at-home project. Have students present their findings and discuss as a class.
English Language Arts tie-in (Grades 7-8): A Raisin in the Sun was named after a line Langston Hughes’ poem Harlem. Have students read the poem, (which can be accessed here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46548/harlem) and answer discussion questions. Sample discussion questions are below. Discuss why Lorraine Hansberry might have named her play after this poem.
Montpelier, OH school district: https://www.montpelier.k12.oh.us/userfiles/504/Classes/747/hughes%20questions.pdf
Fact: May is National Salad Month. Salads are a great way to include veggies in a meal!
Salads are on the menu at CMSD twice a week. Enjoy a tossed salad on Fridays and grab a Fajita Chicken or Crispy Chicken salad any day at the high school.
Below are some ideas for boosting the nutrients in your salad. Try adding one ingredient that you haven’t eaten before!
- Choose darker greens: Dark greens are great sources of lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber! Try starting your salad with spinach, arugula, kale, or swiss chard.
- Choose a lean or vegetarian protein: Such as chicken, chickpeas, walnuts, or beans.
- Add extra veggies: tomatoes, sliced carrots, beets, sliced bell peppers, and cucumbers are classic choices, but you can add anything you would like!
- Add some fruit: Fruits are a great salad topping and add tons of vitamins and fiber to your salad! Some popular choices include sliced strawberries, oranges, peaches, pears, blueberries, and cranberries.
- Choose a dressing with heart-healthy fats: Good options include vinaigrettes (including balsamic vinegar), olive oil, and avocado-based dressings.
Science tie-in (Grades K-5: Science is a Way of Knowing): May is both National Salad Month and Gifts from the Garden month. This is a great time to discuss with students where their food comes from. In the classroom, have students “build” a salad. Choose 5-7 ingredients (with at least 3 vegetables) and write them in a place where students can see them. Then, have students think about where each ingredient comes from. Ask if each ingredient could be grown in a garden. If not, where does the ingredient come from? How does it get to our salad? Does your school cafeteria offer the ingredients that the class chose? If you have a school garden, plan a class trip to look at the foods growing. Ask what foods could be added to the class’ salad.
About the Author: Olivia Roder
Olivia is a Dietetic Intern from Case Western Reserve University, where she is also earning her Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition. Olivia is originally from New Jersey and attended the University of Vermont (UVM) for her undergraduate degree in Dietetics. While at UVM, Olivia discovered a passion for childhood and school nutrition and is thrilled to have the opportunity to intern at CMSD. In her free time, Olivia enjoys reading, yoga and dancing, and spending time outside, especially at the beach. Olivia’s favorite fruit is pineapple, and her favorite vegetable is asparagus!
Keep America Beautiful Month
By Rebecca Divenzio, Dietetic Intern
Hello April and the start of Keep America Beautiful Month! It’s not just time for spring cleaning around your house, but also time to make sure you are keeping the earth clean too. To honor America this month, the CMSD school nutrition department is focusing on initiatives to reduce waste and bring awareness to the importance of our environment.
About 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year! This is all food that could be eaten, but instead, for various reasons gets thrown out. With this food waste piling up in landfills, we also see wasted labor, energy, and water. Taking steps to lower your waste can have a significant impact on the world!
The Cleveland Metro Schools are taking this month to focus on reducing waste by implementing share tables so uneaten foods do not get thrown away, as well as providing new plant-based meal options to help reduce our carbon footprint! Be on the lookout for our new green smoothie for breakfast as well as our veggie pizza!
With all this talk about reducing waste, you may be wondering what you can do at home. There are lots of different actions you can take today to reduce our food waste. Check out the list below:
- Plan your meals ahead to grocery shop for just what you need and avoid letting food go bad. This will also save money!
- Consume your leftovers or freeze them to get more than one serving out of your meals
- Find ways to use your food that’s about to go bad. Browned bananas certainly don’t need to be thrown out. You can just throw them in the freezer for smoothies later!
- Keep an eye on expiration dates so you can eat all that you buy and keep in mind that dates aren’t always totally accurate, so check out your food before tossing it.
- Compost at home or check out the Cleveland composting center, Rust Belt Riders, to convert any wasted food into fertilizer to use for later!
- Get involved in your community initiatives by supporting the Cleveland Food Bank, Hunger Network, Rust Belt Riders, etc!
“Food Loss and Waste.” USDA, https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste.