January/February 2015 Fresh Focus

Nutrition Director Bob Burr gives Leominster a Boost

The Food Services Department and the administration of the Leominster Public Schools have been working to alleviate hunger in the town of Leominster for many years. With over half of the children enrolled in the Leominster Public School District qualifying for free or reduced priced school meals, the School Nutrition Director, Bob Burr, knew it was time to make a change to the breakfast program that the students would truly benefit from.

Burr has been working at Leominster Public Schools for five years as the Director of Food Services of Chartwells. He attended Massasoit College, where he studied Culinary Arts, and has been in the food service industry since 1985. Burr has held numerous positions in restaurants, nursing homes, hospitals and now schools, where he continues to touch the lives of many adults and students through the art of cooking.

The Southeast Elementary School in Leominster, Massachusetts has been offering breakfast in the cafeteria ever since the program began. With over 60% of the students qualifying for free or/reduced priced school meals and only 19% of the student body participating in school breakfast, administration knew it was time to modify their program and get these students the nutrition they needed for a full day of academics...

SFSP Kickoff

The CNOP team could not be more excited for the 2015 Summer Food Service Program kickoff. This year's kickoff will be held at the beautiful and historic Sturbridge Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts on January 21st. You can RSVP for the kickoff by emailing cnop@projectbread.org A virtual tour of the Publick House is available for anyone interested in learning more about its comfy accommodations ahead of time. You can find further details about hotel rooms, start and end times, and food on our Save the Date card. The keynote speaker this year will be Chef Ann Cooper, the “Renegade Lunch Lady” of Boulder, Colorado, who has spent the last 15 years lighting the way to healthier, more sustainable school lunch programs. She’s also delivered four Ted Talk lectures and built the Chef Ann Foundation, which offers grants to schools who want to improve the nutritional quality of their meals. The program will also feature roundtables on topics including, promotion, financial sustainability, programming, and engaging community partners. To reserve a room at the Publick House, visit its website. Hope to see all of you there!

Are you up for the Challenge?

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has been challenging Massachusetts school districts to increase their school breakfast participation by 35% for the past year and a half. Although the original contest end date was the end of December 2014, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is extending the deadline for two more years!

Over the past year, we have seen a number of districts complete the challenge and become breakfast superstars. A few districts have really gone above and beyond with the challenge by implementing new breakfast models and increasing participation by over 100%. Some of the districts that have implemented Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) and seen huge increases in participation include Gardner Public Schools, Salem Public Schools, Brockton Public Schools, Medford Public Schools, and Taunton Public Schools. Congratualtions to these districts. However, they are amongst a very long list of schools that have met the challenge's goal of a 35% increase. And now that the contest is extended for an additional two years, districts have even more time to plan and implement new breakfast program changes.

If you are one of the districts that would like to increase your participation by 35% and become a school breakfast challenge champion, reach out to CNOP for technical assistance. CNOP works statewide, and would love to help you with everything from initial planning meetings to program implementation and beyond. We can also help calculate the financial implications of your program and help with promotion. Use the next two years wisely, and become the next School Breakfast Challenge Champion of Massachusetts!

Breakfast Video Contest is Back

This year, the Child Nutrition Outreach Program held their first annual School Breakfast Poster Contest! Massachusetts high school students were invited to create a poster that will be used to promote the School Breakfast Video Contest: Eat. Film. Screen. The 2014-15 school year will feature be the 5th annual video contest in the spring, and it also included the 1st annual School Breakfast Poster Contest in the fall. We are proud to announce that this year’s poster contest winner was Mona Teasley of Walpole High School. Her poster submission showed a film crew setting up their cameras in a school cafeteria while a student sat and ate her nutritious breakfast at the table. Well done, Mona! Mona’s poster will now be used to promote the School Breakfast Video Contest: Eat. Film. Screen. to all high schools across the state of Massachusetts. Look for it in a hallway near you in the next couple months. If you don’t see it, order a copy to get the contest started in your school. In addition, Mona has received a $500 gift card as a prize. 

Now that the poster contest has come to a close, it’s time to get excited for the 5th annual School Breakfast Video Contest: Eat. Film. Screen! As some may already know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day from a physiological and mental standpoint. It has been shown to decrease absenteeism, tardiness, emotional and behavioral problems, and helps students achieve higher math scores.

Since 2011, the contests’ inaugural run, it has escalated in scope with each passing year. The variation in styles of video that we’ve received skyrocketed last year. That’s why we’re more excited than ever for this fifth annual edition of the contest. Submissions will be accepted between March 2nd and April 3rd, 2015.

Not sure how to get the word out to your students? Promote the contest by showing last year’s winning video, “Healthy Days Breakfast” in classrooms, the cafeteria, or lobbies as students enter the building. Click here to find the video online. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the winning video please email cnop@projectbread.org and let us know where you’re from and your mailing address.

Thank you to all of our students who participated in the contest last year, and we look forward to this year’s creations! For more information on the contest, please visit our website at http://meals4kids.org/school-breakfast-eat-film-screen.

Early Site List Collection

Although summer is still six months away, it is never too early to start thinking about the Summer Food Service Program! This year, in an effort to increase the awareness of the program in all communities in Massachusetts, we will be starting an early site list collection from summer sponsors. We have received a lot of feedback from community partners over the past year requesting that summer site lists be out earlier to ensure families are aware of the program and ready to participate. Last year we pushed to collect site list information by June 1st, and we’re going to make that same push again this year. This will allow time to advertise the sites in advance of each program’s start date. Start your summer planning early, and let’s get Massachusetts’ SFSP participation to skyrocket in summer 2014!

Newly Eligible Areas

Each October the USDA releases new census information, potentially increasing the areas within our state that are eligible to host an open SFSP site. If sites you’ve considered to serve SFSP meals in the past have been thwarted due to location in an ineligible area, make sure to recheck those addresses to see if they are now eligible. Check out the CNOP SFSP mapping tool or FRAC's mapping tool to see if potential sites will be eligible to be open sites this summer. On CNOP’s map, eligible areas are shaded red, just as in the past. However, certain areas of the map are now shaded yellow as well. If you have a potential site in a yellow census area, that is an area that the USDA considers “maybe” eligible. Send the possible site address to the ESE's Department of Nutrition, Health, and Safety for help determining eligibility.

(Yellow regions indicate areas that may be eligible to host SFSP sites; check with CNOP or ESE if you want to open a site in one of these areas.)

Status Report on Hunger

In December 2014, Project Bread released its annual Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts. One of the report’s main findings this year was that hunger continues to be prevalent in our state even among families with full-time wage-earners. There was a time when working families in our state could almost universally afford food and shelter. However, the failure of wages to keep pace with increases in the cost of living over the past 10 years has dramatically increased food insecurity among working people and their children. Today, 375,000 households in the Commonwealth do not have a reliable supply of food. This puts hundreds of thousands of children in the commonwealth in danger of malnourishment. Check out the full report here.

Menu Byte – Fruit and Vegetable Riddles

1. I’m a sweet, juicy red fruit who wears my seeds on the outside. I grow in summertime patches and taste great in everything from shakes to shortcake. Who am I?

A. Strawberry

2. I’m a crunchy summer garden favorite that comes in green, red, orange, yellow – and even purple. You can eat me raw or cooked, sliced or stuffed. I’m not spicy, but chiles are my cousins. Who am I?

A. Peppers

3. Some people think I’m a vegetable, but I’m really a fruit. I taste great raw in salads or on sandwiches, or you can cook me to make pasta sauce or ketchup. Who am I?

A. Tomatoes

4. You’ll find me growing in orchards, where I go by names like Jonathan, Pippin and Granny Smith. You can put me on your teacher’s desk or use me to make a filling for an all-American pie. Who am I?

A: Apple

5. I’m an underground vegetable with a name that sounds like I have great rhythm – and rhymes with “treat,” which I definitely am. I come in red, golden, pink, white – and stripes! Who am I?

A. Beets

6. Because of my pebbly green skin, I sometimes go by the alias “alligator pear.” You’ve probably tasted me mashed into guacamole or in slices on a sandwich or salad. Who am I?

A: Avocados

7. I’m one of the world’s oldest known fruits, who answers to names like Mission, Calimyrna and Smyrna. You might know me from those cookies called “Newtons,” but I taste great fresh off the tree. Who am I?

A: Figs

8. I’m part of the legume family, but our vegetable friends have nicknamed us “the pod squad.” Some words that give clues to my identity include: pinto, edamame, fava, string, snap and green. Who am I?

A: Beans

9. Walk through any vineyard and you’ll find me and the rest of the Vitis Vinifera family hanging out in bunches. I come in lots of cool colors – from silvery green to purplish-black. Who am I?

A. Grapes

-By Laura Martin Bacon, Williams-Sonoma


Featured Recipe from "Let's Prepare Healthy School Breakfast" Cookbook

New year, new recipes! Check out Project Bread’s Chef Nick Speros’ recipe for sweet potato muffins. For a full list of healthy recipes that meet USDA requirements, visit www. meals4kids.org/lets-prepare-healthy-school-breakfast.


  • 12 fresh sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 8 cups oat flour (ground from whole oats in a blender)
  • 3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cloves
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1½ cups olive oil
  • ¼ cup pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups orange juice 


  1. Be sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Preheat convection oven to 350°F set on low fan.
  3. Bake the potatoes for about 1 hour or until soft. When cool enough to handle, peel, and mash flesh.
  4. Meanwhile, coat muffin pans with pan release spray.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, oat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Whisk until well combined.
  6. In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add the olive oil, vanilla, yogurt, orange juice, and mashed sweet potatoes and whisk to combine.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Do not overwork the batter.
  8. Using a three-ounce ice cream scoop, portion batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Allow muffins to rest in pan for 10 minutes; turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: Serve these immediately or wrap them completely and hold at room temperature over night. Do not refrigerate, instead, store them in the freezer for up to a week. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.


1.5 ounce equivalent whole grain-rich

NOTE: All grain products served in SBP must be credited based on per-ounce equivalent (oz eq) standards. Baked goods (breads, muffins, biscuits, bagels, etc.) credit as 1 oz eq=2 oz.1


calories: 157; sodium: 132.76 mg; saturated fat: 4.70%