March/April 2017 Fresh Focus

School Breakfast Week Events Highlight Healthy Menu Options

Last week, CNOP celebrated National School Breakfast Week with events in Waltham and Boston that highlighted the importance of healthy school breakfast. National School Breakfast Week raises awareness around the School Breakfast Program and promotes the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement, and healthy lifestyles.

Children taste samples of breakfast parfaits

On Tuesday, CNOP visited Thomas R. Plympton Elementary School in Waltham for a "breakfast party" where students sampled a healthy take on breakfast with a "funfetti parfait". Healthy Waltham's Chef Reva created these "funfetti parfaits" with yogurt, fresh fruit, and other healthy toppings, which were a hit with students. This is part of School Nutrition Director April Liles' focus on introducing healthier, scratch-cooked menu items district-wide in Waltham Public Schools. CNOP is partnering with April and her team to help increase participation in the breakfast program and ensure all students have access to a healthy start to the day.

Two boys give thumbs up while eating food

On Thursday, CNOP flipped the cooking demonstration model, by holding an Iron Chef-style culinary competition at Fenway High School. Three teams of students competed to whip up a winning breakfast menu item. Among the contenders were a Three Cheese Egg Wrap and a Breakfast Smoothie, but the ultimate winner was Oatmeal Deluxe. The event was emceed by Jenny Johnson, executive producer and co-host at NESN's Dining Playbook, and dishes were judged by a panel of experts in school nutrition including Boston Public School’s new Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Laura Benevidez, and ESE’s Director of Food & Nutrition Programs, Rob Leshin, among others. The judges reviewed the student-prepared dishes based on taste, presentation, and ability to be replicated on a larger scale.

Two students hold samples of their winning oatmeal with emcee Jenny Johnson

SFSP Kickoff Jumpstarts Another Summer Serving Meals Statewide

On February 8, more than 100 sponsors, site supervisors and partners gathered in Devens, Mass., to kick off the 2017 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). ESE Director of Food and Nutrition Programs Rob Leshin and USDA Northeast Regional Office Special Nutrition Programs Director Candice Stoiber gave welcoming remarks, followed by a keynote address from Project Bread Executive Director Ellen Parker. In her keynote, Ellen noted the importance of the SFSP and highlighted a core mission of Project Bread's work: "We believe in feeding children where they live, learn, and play. No stigma, no shame." She also acknowledged the hard work and dedication of all who work on the SFSP, whether it was their first year or their twentieth. Mickey Guzman and Neddy Latimer from the Spanish American Center and Ruth Campbell, of Church of the Holy Spirit, as well as Amy Socolow from ESE, all received the first ever Legacy Awards to honor their 20+ years working to promote summer meals to kids across Massachusetts.

Sessions at the day-long Kickoff covered a wide range of topics, from holding Blitz Day outreach events in your community to introducing summer meals at non-traditional sites, like farmers markets, libraries and health centers. 

Kickoff attendees hold awards for 20 plus years of service in the SFSP

With a New Year Comes New Breakfast Models for Salemwood School

Salemwood School in Malden began 2017 by kick-starting two new breakfast models: a Grab & Go model for students in grades 5-8 and Breakfast in the Classroom for younger students in grades K-4. Already, the program has been a huge success. In just the first two weeks, breakfast participation increased 500 percent, with 3,000 meals served per week up from 500 before the model change. CNOP worked with Assistant Food Service Director Kate Filteau to help implement the new program, and on January 23, held a celebratory event to highlight its success. State Senator Jason Lewis, State Representatives Paul Brodeur and Paul Donato, and Pat the Patriot helped to hand out breakfast at Grab & Go kiosks as students arrived, and visited a first grade class to read "Oh, The Things You Can Do That Are Good For You" as students ate Breakfast in the Classroom.

Men read books to students eating breakfast

Reminder: SFSP Grants Available from Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Don't forget to apply for an SFSP grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 16 at 5pm. Full details can be found on the DESE website.

Registration is Now Open for the Walk for Hunger

Project Bread's Annual Walk for Hunger is happening Sunday, May 7. This 49-year-old tradition raises money to support local programs that alleviate hunger. This year, more than 300 local programs in more than 100 Massachusetts communities will be supported through money raised by Walkers. Learn more and register here.

Chefs in Schools Menu Byte: Oatmeal Deluxe

Winning Recipe from Fenway Iron Chef Competition

Looking for a crowd-pleasing breakfast recipe? Try Oatmeal Deluxe, created by student chefs and taste-tested by a panel of judges. This recipe was a clear winner at the Fenway Iron Chef competition: It's tasty, nutritious, and easily scaled for school cafeterias.


  • 4 cups whole grain oats
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS light brown sugar
  • Optional garnish: Plain Greek yogurt, raisins, orange marmalade, chopped walnuts


  1. Bring water and salt to boil.
  2. Add oats and cook on medium for 5 minutes.
  3. Shut off heat and add brown sugar.
  4. Serve 4-8 ounce servings and top with garnish (optional).