November/December 2016 Fresh Focus

Welcome to the November/December issue of Fresh Focus! The days may be getting shorter, but this newsletter is packed with ways to make the most of them. Read on to learn how to reduce food waste, become a breakfast champion, and find opportunities to grow or expand summer meal programs. Plus, don't forget to upload your student lists to the Virtual Gateway!

Don't Forget! Upload Your Student Lists

Just a friendly reminder to upload your student lists to the Virtual Gateway at least once a month to identify matches for direct certified free school meals. Even if your school does not qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), increasing direct certified students will result in greater revenue for your schools as well as helping those eligible households. For schools enrolled in CEP, direct certifications will increase your Identified Student Percentage, which can help get you to 100% reimbursement and will benefit other programs for your school that were previously dependent on free/reduced meal numbers.

New Census Data To Determine SFSP Eligibility Now Available

The USDA’s new census data is now available for viewing. Take a look at your district for opportunities to expand or start the Summer Food Service Program. As always, CNOP can offer technical support to all communities participating in the SFSP. Please call or email Rachel Garside or Rosemarie Caward for more assistance.

Rachel Garside: 617-239-2575,

Rosemarie Caward: 617-239-2573,

Want to be a Sustainability Trendsetter? Here's How You Can Help Guide Policies to Reduce Food Waste

The Environmental Research & Education Foundation and the School Nutrition Foundation are inviting schools to join them in the School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP)! The Project aims to gather information about how school cafeteria waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away. Schools can participate at three different levels of involvement: purple, blue and gold. Those who participate in the program will receive educational materials about waste, and those schools that provide SCrAP with data will receive a snapshot of their school’s results, and a chance to win up to $1,500 to support their schools. Read more about this project here, and consider making your school and the environment more sustainable by participating! You can also view this video to learn how to get involved.

Be a Champion: Help Increase Breakfast Participation in Massachusetts

According to the Food Research & Action Center, Massachusetts ranks 49th in the country based on the percentage of schools that offer school breakfast and 43rd in the number of economically disadvantaged students who participate in school breakfast. We can do better and, with the health and educational performance of students on the line, we must do better! Join the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge and work with the Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and our partners in increasing school breakfast participation at your school. Visit to learn more and contact for help in turning your school into a Breakfast Champion! 

Menu Byte

Looking for a tasty new recipe to try out? Project Bread's Chef Sam has a student-tested -- and approved! -- chicken lo mein recipe to brighten up these dark fall days. Chef Sam works with Project Bread's Chefs in Schools program to help school cafeteria staff create healthier, tastier school meals that appeal to kids.

Chef Sam’s Chicken Lo Mein

Makes 100 8 oz portions


  • 19.25 lbs whole wheat spaghetti (uncooked)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minced garlic
  • 1 cup minced ginger
  • 5 lbs carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 4 lbs red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 lbs celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart water
  • 12.5 lbs diced chicken
  • 3 cups low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 5 cups scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, minced


  1. In large steam kettle, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain cooking water and cool pasta with cold running water to stop cooking process.
  2. Place chicken in perforated steam pans and steam for 10 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees. Be sure to strain any excess water from chicken before adding it to the lo mein.
  3. In tilt skillet, heat oil and add garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic, this will make it bitter.
  4. Add carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery to tilt skillet. Saute until vegetables soften slightly. Add green and red cabbage and one quart of water. Cook all vegetables together until cabbage is tender.
  5. Add spaghetti, soy sauce, lime juice and chicken to vegetables in the tilt skillet. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed and the spaghetti is heated through.
  6. Transfer lo mein to hotel pans and garnish with scallions and cilantro.