Benefits of Reading Books: How It Can Positively Affect Your Life

Medically reviewed by Heidi Moawad, M.D. — Written by Rebecca Joy Stan borough, MFA on October 15, 2019

In the 11th century, a Japanese woman known as Murasaki Shikibu wrote “The Tale of Genji,” a 54-chapter story of courtly seduction believed to be the world’s first novel.

Over 1,000 years later, people the world over are still engrossed by novels — even in an era where stories appear on handheld screens and disappear 24 hours later.

What exactly do human beings get from reading books? Is it just a matter of pleasure, or are there benefits beyond enjoyment? The scientific answer is a resounding “yes.”

Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health, and those benefits can last a lifetime. They begin in early childhood and continue through the senior years.

Here’s a brief explanation of how reading books can change your brain — and your body — for the better.

Reading strengthens your brain

A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind.

Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed Trusted Source that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.

In one study Trusted Source conducted in 2013, researchers used functional MRI scans to measure the effect of reading a novel on the brain. Study participants read the novel “Pompeii” over a period of 9 days. As tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity.

Brain scans showed that throughout the reading period and for days afterward, brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.

Increases your ability to empathize

And speaking of sensing pain, research Trusted Source has shown that people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.

Researchers call this ability the “theory of mind,” a set of skills essential for building, navigating, and maintaining social relationships.

While a single session of reading literary fiction isn’t likely to spark this feeling, research Trusted Source shows that long-term fiction readers do tend to have a better-developed theory of mind.

Builds your vocabulary

Reading researchers as far back as the 1960s have discussed what’s known as “the Matthew effect Trusted Source,” a term that refers to biblical verse Matthew 13:12: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The Matthew effect sums up the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer — a concept that applies as much to vocabulary as it does to money.

Researchers have found Trusted Source that students who read books regularly, beginning at a young age, gradually develop large vocabularies. And vocabulary size can influence many areas of your life, from scores on standardized tests to college admissions and job opportunities.

A 2019 poll conducted by Cengage showed that 69 percent of employers are looking to hire people with “soft” skills, like the ability to communicate effectively. Reading books is the best way to increase your exposure to new words, learned in context.

Helps prevent age-related cognitive decline

The National Institute on Aging Trusted Source recommends reading books and magazines as a way of keeping your mind engaged as you grow older.

Although research hasn’t proven conclusively that reading books prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s, studies Trusted Source show that seniors who read and solve math problems every day maintain and improve their cognitive functioning.

And the earlier you start, the better. A 2013 study conducted by Rush University Medical Center found that people who’ve engaged in mentally stimulating activities all their lives were less likely to develop the plaques, lesions, and tau-protein tangles found in the brains of people with dementia.

Reduces stress

In 2009, a group of researchers measured the effects of yoga, humor, and reading on the stress levels of students in demanding health science programs in the United States.

The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor did.

The authors concluded, “Since time constraints are one of the most frequently cited reasons for high stress levels reported by health science students, 30 minutes of one of these techniques can be easily incorporated into their schedule without diverting a large amount of time from their studies.”

Prepares you for a good night’s rest

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest reading as part of a regular sleep routine.

For best results, you may want to choose a print book rather than reading on a screen, since the light emitted by your device could keep you awake and lead to other unwanted health outcomes.

Doctors also recommend that you read somewhere other than your bedroom if you have trouble falling asleep.

Helps alleviate depression symptoms

British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton once wrote, “Consolation from imaginary things is not an imaginary consolation.” People with depression often feel isolated and estranged from everyone else. And that’s a feeling books can sometimes lessen.

Reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters. And nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms.

That’s why the United Kingdom’s National Health Service has begun Reading Well, a Books on Prescription program, where medical experts prescribe self-help books curated by medical experts specifically for certain conditions.

May even help you live longer

A long-term health and retirement study Trusted Source followed a cohort of 3,635 adult participants for a period of 12 years, finding that those who read books survived around 2 years longer than those who either didn’t read or who read magazines and other forms of media.

The study also concluded that people who read more than 3 1/2 hours every week were 23 percent likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.

What should you be reading?

So, what should you be reading? The short answer is: Whatever you can get your hands on.

There was a time when remote regions had to rely on librarians traversing the mountains with books stuffed in saddlebags. But that’s hardly the case today. Just about everyone can access vast libraries contained in cellphones and tablets.

If you’re pressed for time, devote a few minutes daily to a blog on a niche topic. If you’re looking for an escape, fantasy or historical fiction can transport you out of your own surroundings and into another world altogether.

If you’re on a career fast-track, read nonfiction advice offered by someone who’s already arrived. Consider it a mentorship you can pick up and put down when it suits your schedule.

One thing to note: Don’t read solely on a device. Flip through print books, too.6

Studies have shown repeatedly that people who read print books score higher on comprehension tests and remember more of what they read than people who read the same material in a digital form.

That may be, in part, because people tend to read print more slowly than they read digital content.

Bypass the binge-watching from time to time

There’s nothing wrong with watching an entire television series, start to finish, in a single weekend — just as there’s nothing wrong with eating a large, luscious dessert.

But binge-watching TV probably needs to be an occasional treat rather than your main source of intellectual stimulation. Research shows that prolonged TV viewing, especially for children, may change the brain in unhealthy ways.

The takeaway

Reading is very, very good for you. Research shows that regular reading:

• improves brain connectivity
• increases your vocabulary and comprehension
• empowers you to empathize with other people
• aids in sleep readiness
• reduces stress
• lowers blood pressure and heart rate
• fights depression symptoms
• prevents cognitive decline as you age
• contributes to a longer life

It’s especially important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative. However, it’s never too late to begin taking advantage of the many physical and psychological benefits waiting for you in the pages of a good book. Last medically reviewed on October 15, 2019

Appreciation at Work – Its Power and Importance

Appreciation is one of the principal motivators for any employee at his or her workplace. Appreciation drives employees to work sincerely and to be more dedicated to their employers.

Research has shown that words of appreciation at workplace is directly connected to job satisfaction and happiness at workplace.

Studies show that more than 70% of workers admit that they get motivated to work with sincerity when their higher authorities express appreciation for the efforts they put in.

What is Appreciation and Why is it Important?
Appreciation is recognition of the magnitude, significance, value, or quality of things or people.

Appreciation is one of the basic human needs. An employee responds to the appreciation that his higher authority expresses by recognizing his good job because it positively confirms that his work is being valued.

When an employee and his work are appreciated, his satisfaction and thus his productivity improves. He gets motivated to maintain the standard or to improve it more. Showing gratitude and employee recognition from employers also plays an important role in retaining workers. Employees get attached to workplaces where ethical climates prevail.

Reward and recognition program, employee appreciation are key success factors even at higher management levels. Performers in an organization must always be appreciated. Positive feedback or appreciation at workplace should always be given to those who contribute positively towards the success of the company.

How Can an Employer Express or Show Appreciation towards his Employees?
Money is not the only reward that expresses appreciation. Many employees would feel more satisfied and happy if their employers treated them unexpectedly with “thank you” notes, gifts, lunches, dinners, or snacks. Many would also love a reward like a company sponsored day out or vacation. Even cost-effective means of appreciation are enough to express that the employees are valued.

Means of No-Cost Appreciation might be:

Thanking the employee by name
Involving the employee in decision-making procedures
Particularly stating the trait or job that is being appreciated
Offering lucrative career opportunities
Maintaining the Most Valuable Assets by Appreciation, Not by Compensation:
Compensation is Less Important than Appreciation:
Studies show that most employees leave their jobs due to a lack of recognition and appreciation. Compensation or salary is often the less important factor.

Thus, it is possible for an employer to create and maintain a workplace where workers feel that they are valued, appreciated, and recognized. Because importance of appreciation is greater than compensation. Profitability will automatically grow.

A Culture of Appreciation Makes Employees Do More:
Appreciated employees value their organizations by doing more, staying longer, assisting each other to do more, and thus contributing to the overall development and growth of their organization.

The employees who comprise a workforce should be the most valued assets of a company and money, power and position should only be small parts of the equation when the objective is to take care of these assets.

A culture of appreciation contributes to a culture of passion, power, and profitability as employees know they are important. Appreciation constitutes a relationship’s vitality and a vital relationship is what produces the best that a company has to offer.

Everyone Needs to Know He is Important:
Every human being needs to know that he is important to other people. Although it is not often spoken, people need to be valued, thought about, and noticed. This need is a present and constant one. Appreciation or recognition becomes meaningless if it is offered too late.

Feeling appreciation is not enough. An employer must express and speak appreciation for his valued employees. Employers, leaders, managers, and companies that want people to work for them must understand the importance of appreciation at workplace.

How are Great Companies Held Together?
Appreciation is one of the core values that hold enduring and successful companies together. It is a value that helps a company grow and be powerful.

Employee Appreciation at Work Rules :
Employees should be treated as though they are the company’s most valued assets. A mere verbal expression is insufficient.
Communication should be clear, transparent, and regular. When vital information is shared with employees, they are able to participate with commitment by taking on more responsibilities. If each employee or team member is aware of the direction towards which a department or company is heading, he is able to help the company get there.
An employer gets what he rewards. An employer should be formulating reward programs that would positively influence employees to grow their potentials as powerful workers and committed team members. The company should always be acknowledging the efforts of its workers and offer appropriate rewards.
The employer should listen to everybody in his company. Active suggestion programs should be created. Such programs encourage employees to share their experiences and ideas, irrespective of whether these suggestions have small or big impact on the company and its clients. Employees should be asked questions and should be encouraged to offer feedback. Workers at all levels should be encouraged to connect to the senior management as this ability is priceless. Employees at every level should get the opportunity and freedom to express their suggestions and disappointments in a constructive and regular manner.
Once an employer catches an employee doing something great, he should praise the good act as many times as possible.
The employer or management should pay close attention to their employees’ work environments, making sure that the employees have good working conditions, equipment and furniture.
Successes should be celebrated generously. Time should be set at regular intervals during a year and on completion of a challenging project or day for celebrating the success of a team or department. Acknowledgment should be offered and gratefulness should be expressed for great job done by competent employees. The secrets of their successes and lessons from their disappointments should be learnt and reviewed.
Managers should be encouraged to work for their employees and be the kind of leaders that employees love to work for. An able manager is one who commits to develop his team members professionally as well as personally.
Employees should be encouraged to have fun. Group activities like cultural events and sporting events must be organized or encouraged. Employees can be awarded interesting certificates of excellence that would acknowledge individual achievements. Games and candies awarded now and then can make work fun.
Employers should remember that employees need to be valued just as customers are. Showering an employee with praise can exceed his expectations, surprise him pleasantly, and bring the best out of him.
Treating Employees Right and Appreciating Them:
Employers wanting to grow their business are going to need efficient and enthusiastic employees. Those needing enthusiastic employees must treat workers right.
A business owner spends a huge amount of money and time finding and training efficient team members.

Unfortunately, that investment frequently gets wasted as most owners do not express their appreciation sufficiently. According to studies, lack of sufficient appreciation is the primary reason why employees leave jobs.

Irrespective of the salary, bonus structure, or benefits, the simple feeling that hard work is not getting appreciated or recognized drives employees to leave their jobs.

Is Appreciation Simple?
Anyone who thinks appreciation is simple, is wrong. Expressing appreciation as well as receiving it is challenging.

Learning the Skill of Appreciation:
Use Every Scope of Appreciation:
Expressing and receiving sufficient appreciation at work is an essential skill that most employees and managers should exercise more frequently than they already do.

Fortunately, the opportunity to appreciate is always present. Whenever an employee does something praiseworthy, tell them how much they are appreciated.

Be Genuine and Personal:
While appreciating, one must be genuine, specific, and enthusiastic. Moreover, the gratitude and appreciation must be delivered personally. Instead of emailing “Well Done!”, the manager should personally go to the deserving employee and express in detail what he liked, how much he liked it, and why he liked it.

Such appreciation should not only motivate that employee to continue his good job, but will also enhance his overall productivity.

Appreciation cannot be faked and one should never appreciate mediocrity. This devalues appreciation and makes the employer’s appreciation attempts meaningless and futile.

Make It an Exercise:
Appreciation is an exercise to be practiced. An appreciation exchange program can be organized among the team members. In this program, each member would come prepared with specific messages of appreciation. These kinds of exercises builds morale and motivate employees to work towards receiving appreciation.

Rectify Positively:
Another technique that enhances the feeling of appreciation is by altering the manner in which a team member is corrected or rectified. Nothing offensive should ever be uttered. Instead, a conversation should be started with a positive remark and then the issue in question should be expressed.

A positive comment should never be followed by a “but”, as this word diminishes the original compliment. A “but” should always be replaced by an “and”. This enables employees to enjoy the positive feeling and not get de-motivated with what comes after the “but”.

Is there anything called “Over Appreciation”?
Can there be over appreciation?

Can over appreciation lead to complacency?

The answer is “No”. Nobody stops doing the thing for which he is praised. The behavior or job that is appreciated is continued and recipients of praise also focus on enhanced improvement. There can be nothing such as sufficient or excess appreciation.

Moreover, an employer or a manager gets an opportunity to positively influence someone’s mind and life.

Appreciation Strengthens Employee Relationships:
Every employee remembers every instance when they have been recognized at their workplace. Irrespective of whether it is a simple “Good Job” or a dinner treat, every worker loves to be appreciated and valued.

Appreciation is essential for retention, motivation, and employee engagement. Appreciation and employee recognition can also build special company culture that strengthens employee relationships.

How Does Gratitude and Workplace Appreciation Bring Positive Effects? How does Appreciation Affect the Psychology of Employees?
Numerous studies have been conducted on the relationship between work engagement and gratitude.

A message of gratitude and a word of appreciation drives workers to be more engaged, committed, productive, and successful. Why employees act in this manner can only be explained by analyzing the human brain functions.

Why Does Performance at Workplace Improve with Appreciation?
Appreciation affects the Human Brain:
There are certain areas of the human brain that are positively affected by gratefulness and appreciation. The hypothalamus that controls the fundamental bodily functions like sleeping and eating and dopamine which is the reward neurotransmitter are largely influenced from feelings of gratefulness. Gratitude can have a strong effect on someone’s mind and life as it engages his brain in a positive cycle.

Moreover, these brain boosters can have powerful positive influence in a workplace and in the work-life balance of an employee. A person who is appreciated is less stressed and has improved sleep habits.

Appreciation and gratitude increases metabolism and improves the recipient’s overall wellness. This directly influences employee interaction and work results. Employee appreciation not only boosts engagement and performance, but also improves the employees’ health and well-being.

Appreciation Improves Social Interactions:
Furthermore, expressing gratitude or appreciation towards colleagues creates improved social interactions. By implementing appreciation into the culture of a company, employees are more ready to share their positive feelings with others which might comprise assisting colleagues in a project or recognizing and noticing those who have put in extra effort.

The biggest psychological effects of gratitude and appreciation are the positive emotions like happiness that are immediately felt when praise is received. Appreciation creates better self-esteem, cheerful memories, and good feelings. It makes an employee feel more optimistic and more relaxed.

Positive Emotions Creates Unity:
All these positive emotions create an attitude of togetherness and an environment of encouragement in the workplace, which subsequently makes the organization successful.

Moreover, the dopamine effect encourages a constant cycle of appreciation, if everyone willingly participates. These emotions create unity and bring the best out of the employees.

An employer, leader, or manager, on understanding the importance of gratitude and appreciation and their direct impact on the workplace, should formulate a positive appreciation plan that would fit the values, culture, and mission of the company and would engage and benefit all employees.

Appreciation at workplace is supposed to be a timely, formal, or informal acknowledgment of an employee’s effort, behavior, or productivity that has supported the goals of the organization and has been outstanding.

escolar No puede conducir 55 a través de la vida

Programa de educación nutricional

escolar No puede conducir 55 a través de la vida

Código de Normas Profesionales del USDA 3230/4140


Bart Christian, quien es un orador reconocido a nivel nacional y de la industria de la nutrición escolar.
Sal Valencia

Sal es el Director de Servicios de Alimentos, West New York Schools, Nueva Jersey. Ha trabajado 30 años
de experiencia en la industria de servicios dealimentos, ha nombrado a una de las 21 personas curtidas
en la nación como campeón nacional de la Alianza para una generación más saludable y ha sido el
director sobresaliente del año de la región noreste.

Un elemento clave de tener un equipo en el que pueda confiar es un liderazgo sólido:
mantenerse en la cima de su juego y mantenerse involucrado con la industria. ¿Cuáles son un par
de cosas que haces regularmente para mantenerte al tanto de eso?

• Visite los espectáculos de restaurantes para saber qué ha estado sucediendo en el espectro más
amplio, qué está sucediendo en los restaurantes, qué está viendo la gente, cuáles son las
tendencias alimentarias, para que podamos estar al tanto de eso. Creo que eso es realmente
• Hacer uso de la educación social para llegar a las páginas de la industria de la nutrición
escolar, consejos para las comidas escolares
• Llegar de vez en cuando, conectarse con las personas a través de las redes sociales
• Hacerles saber lo que estoy haciendo y averiguar lo que están haciendo.
Con respecto a las redes sociales en las que las personas piden consejos en diferentes grupos de
nutrición escolar, ¿qué opinas al respecto?
• Hago todo el trabajo por adelantado para poder sentarme y dejar que las cosas se ejecuten por sí
mismas después del tiempo.
• Estaré buscando algo y puedo caer en una de esas páginas y decir, Oye, necesito
esto. Necesito una receta para algo, o necesito nutrir en X y es justo. Minutos antes
alguien me da una respuesta y estoy bien.

Cuéntanos más sobre lo que haces en los concesionarios y qué tipo de clientes atiendes
Concessionaires es una pequeña empresa familiar. Son muy buenos conmigo. Me están dejando
extender mis alas y hacer las cosas que me gusta hacer.

• Tenemos algunas cuentas pequeñas y algunas cuentas medianas
• Lo de envejecer y salir y estar dispuesto a asumir riesgos. Porque a menudo hay pocas personas que
entiendan lo que estás haciendo a tu lado.

Cuéntanos un poco sobre el pensamiento detrás de “You Can’t Drive 55 Through Life”
Generalmente es egoísta porque mi cumpleaños es la próxima semana y voy a cumplir 55 años,
lo que sé que todos ustedes no pueden creer eso en este momento. Voy a cumplir 55 años, pero en lo
que empecé a pensar fue en dónde empezamos en todo esto, dónde empecé todo esto hace 32 años. Y
parecía que, 55 años, si tienes mi edad, sabes que de inmediato, vas a Sammy Hagar.

No puedo conducir 55 y no creo que haya podido conducir 55 y nunca haya seguido el límite de
velocidad tan bien cuando empecé, ¡todos lo hicieron! Éramos un servicio de comida escolar.

Haces las comidas, almuerzas, te vas de ahí. Estás en casa a las tres en punto, se acabó.

Hemos evolucionado mucho a partir de ahí. Solo miras las cosas increíbles que la gente ha estado
haciendo durante los últimos 10 años y, como realmente los últimos 10 años, ha explotado con personas
como Bertrand.

Hay tanta gente en la ciudad que hacetodo tipo de locuras. La gente realmente está empujando ese
límite de velocidad y saliendo a la calle. Y ya no hay espacio para que te sientes y ejecutes este programa
de 55 millas por hora. Todo el mundo está buscando ser el próximo chico en avanzar y es
genial poder ver cuánto hemos evolucionado.

¿Cómo mantienes a tu personal motivado durante todo este tiempo?

Hubo una pregunta simple hoy que alguien hizo sobre las palabras, “gracias”. Son dos palabras
muy importantes, pero solo son importantes si las haces importantes para ti y las haces importantes
para las personas a las que les das esas palabras.

• Mi personal está motivado porque todos nos preocupamos el uno por el otro
• Pasé por un pequeño bache en el camino a principios de este año y tuve algunos
problemas médicos. Y después de la pandemia, quería volver al trabajo y realmente
no se suponía que estuviera allí, pero quería ir de todos modos. Y entré y donde quiera que fui
porque mi gente estaba sirviendo afuera y sentí que lo necesitaban, necesitaba ir allí solo para
decirles, gracias.
• Eso fue realmente conmovedor para mí porque estaba preocupado por ellos y ellos estaban
mucho más preocupados de que yo iba a estar allí y de que no debería estar allí.
• Solo tienes que saber que la gente tiene que saber que te preocupas por ellos o nunca
van a estar motivados.

Desde que llegó la pandemia, ¿qué tipo de cosas ha implementado en sus organizaciones para
mantener realmente a todos en la misma página?

• Mucha comunicación en papel y llamadas telefónicas
• Aprovechamos la tecnología.
• Inscribimos el curso COVID Smart, que fue muy útil, ya que puede hacerlo directamente en su
teléfono. Fue genial porque mis escuelas, todos hicieron su COVID inteligente y todos
estábamos certificados.
• Desde marzo, todos hemos tenido que pivotar mucho, ya sea solo desde nuestra
perspectiva sobre la forma en que hacemos negocios, la forma en que nos comunicamos con
nuestro personal.
• Una de las cosas que creo que también ha cambiado, nuestras reuniones de garaje y mucha más
documentación en papel, y cosas de esa naturaleza es la forma en que nos comunicamos y
realmente motivamos a nuestro personal.

¿Cuáles son algunas de las cosas que has hecho con tus empleados para ayudarlos realmente a
saber cuán importantes son realmente sus trabajos?

• Esto puede sonar tonto, pero he estado diseñando camisas y sudaderas para que todos tuvieran
una sudadera al comienzo de todo esto que tenía una imagen de un corazón con alas de
ángel. Se lo dimos a cualquiera con una sudadera con capucha para mantenerlos calientes.
• Cuando llegamos a cien mil comidas. Cien mil comidas servidas en la espalda en lugar de
trabajador central. Acabamos de llegar a un millón de comidas. Entonces, acabamos de hacer los
mil millones de comidas. Camiseta donde en la parte posterior de lamisma, tenemos, dice, “haz
lo correcto y alimenta a todos”, pandemia del USDA 2020. Entonces, hemos estado tratando de
darles cosas así para mantenerlos motivados.
• Hágales saber cuando lleguemos a estas marcas o, “Oye, estamos en cien mil comidas donde a
500,000 meals. Ustedes están haciendo un trabajo increíble, ya saben, a veces
simplemente voy y digo, ya sabes, ¿tienes alguna idea de cuántas libras de verduras has servido
desde marzo? Y les gustan esas cosas.
• Es interesante para ellos y los mantiene interesados en lo que hacen. Creo que también, y esto
se remonta a algo de lo que hablamos al principio, es que el público realmente ha visto
cuánto hacemos. Tuve una mamá que me llamó. En medio de todo esto para agradecerme por
las empanadas que les regalamos.

Cuéntanos más sobre Project Share

• Project Share es algo que fui extrañamente instrumental al principio, pero no tuvo
nada que ver con eso durante mucho tiempo. Fue fundada hace 32 años con Jeannie Newman
• Su objetivo es traer interacción, reconocer a las personas que viven en las calles, otros
simplemente las ven en la acera o donde sea que estén y ni siquiera las reconocen y el
propósito de este proyecto es traer de vuelta a la HUMANIDAD.
• Primero, reunimos una cena de Acción de Gracias para los hambrientos y pobres en el condado
de Westchester, Nueva York, y nuestra gente de la ciudad de Nueva York. Nos fijamos en un
centenar de personas. Y el primer sír fue increíble. Mis amigos y familiares entraron y nos
• Los padres vinieron y ayudaron a cocinar. Los niños, jugaron, hicieron manualidades, y
luego todos nos sentamos y comimos juntos.
• Después de eso, dejé ese trabajo. Y perdí a Jeannie. No hablé con unade esas personas durante
mucho tiempo. Y unos 25 años después de eso a través de Facebook, Jeannie me encontró y me
envió un mensaje.
• Ella me hizo saber que la cena que habíamos comenzado hace unos 28 años en ese momento se
había convertido en la cena más grande paralospobres hambrientos en Manhattan. En el
estado de Nueva York para el Día de Acción de Gracias, alimentaban a más de 800 personas cada
año. En autobús desde los cinco condados. Y todo lo hacen los niños de secundaria. Hacen todo
el voluntariado, cocinan la comida, hacen todolo posible.
• Llegamos a los 30 años, hace dos años y fue alucinante para mí lo que esta pequeña semilla que
había ayudado a plantar hace unos 30 años se había convertido en lo que hacen estos niños.
• Este año va a ser muy interesante para nosotros porque. No podemos hacer que la gente venga
a nosotros. Entonces, estamos buscando maneras de llevar a esta humanidad, esta comida, el
compartir con ellos en la calle. Y creemos que lo tenemos todo resuelto.
• Me he comunicado con muchas de mis personas, mis amigos y mi red y servicio de alimentos
para pedir ayuda. La gente está dando un paso adelante por todas partes. Estoy recibiendo
donaciones de alimentos y bolsas. La gente solo está enviando dinero. Es que el apoyo ha sido
realmente abrumador y es bueno,pero va a ser un año muy interesante porque realmente
no sabemos que estamos haciendo comidas, las vamos a calentar.
• Vamos a sacarlos, pero no estamos seguros de cómo va a funcionar todo, pero estoy
bastante seguro de que la determinación de estos niños de secundaria es increíble.
¿Por qué es tan importante para ti alimentar a las personas?
• Creo que todos tenemos en nosotros que queremos ser parte de esa comida.
• Quiero sentarme en esa mesa con ustedes y quiero compartir esa time. Lo que nos
hace un poco extraños es porque no estamos sentados, ya sabes, tenemos que estar a seis
pies de distancia de ti, pero aún puedes sentir el amor entre todo eso.
• Y es justo lo que hacemos. Creo que todos nosotros, ese es el final del día, miras
lo que hicimos hoy y es como, Oye, tengoun montón de niños o, ya sabes, y no lo es, es muy
fácil no recordar cuáles fueron las comidas y recordar las caras y las sonrisas.
• Darles a los niños algo que van a recordar,
• Aportando parte positiva de sus vidas
• Pueden sentir el amor en el, incluso si es una bolsa de comida, el amor que fue, eso fue todo.
Ya que estamos hablando de poner comida y vientres hambrientos, ¿crees que ahora con todo lo que
está sucediendo no esel momento de comenzar a presionarpor comidas que sean gratuitas para todos
los niños?

Estoy tratando de mantenerme alejado de la palabra libre. Entonces, le he estado diciendo a toda mi
gente que las comidas están disponibles sin costo porque hay este tipo extraño de cosas sobre las
comidas gratuitas que no harías,bueno, ¿por qué son gratis?

• Las comidas son importantes como libros y todo debe ser parte del costo del día escolar.
• Ahora es nuestra oportunidad de demostrar realmente que esto es factible y que es moralmente

2020 ha sido un calentador para los libros y ha sido muy desafiante en todos los aspectos de la vida. Con
muchos de estos desafíos, podríamos estar viendo a algunos de nuestros directores veteranos en este
próximo año, o tal vez algunos que ya han decidido que es hora de querenuncien y dejen entrar una
nueva ola de directores.

¿Qué consejo puede dar a los nuevos directores que desearía haber conocido cuando
asumió su cargo?

• Si esta trayectoria profesional es para ti, lo sabrás de inmediato.
• Si no es así, ve a hacer otra cosa. Pero si es para usted, trabaje para el distrito de autooperación
y obtenga una pensión. Esas son cosas buenas que hacer de inmediato, desde el principio.
• Sigue lo que crees que es, es el camino a seguir y no dejes que nadie te lo diga. No es así como lo
hacemos en las escuelas, porque podemos hacer prácticamente lo que queramos en la escuela.
Tenemos que seguir las reglas en cuanto a las regulaciones y las otras cosas, pero
realmente puedes empujar ese sobre y conducir mucho más allá de esos 55.
• Realmente tienes que ser capaz de rodar con él y no siempre puedes tomarte tan en serio.
• No te estreses tanto porque como van las cosas en este momento, podría cambiar la próxima
• Diviértete, haz lo correcto, alimenta a la gente.
¿Cuáles crees que son algunas oportunidades que podemos esperar que puedan surgir de este año
caótico que hemos pasado?
• A veces es difícil ver la luz al final del túnel con todas estas cosas, eso nos está llegando, pero
estás viendo lo que la gente está haciendo.
• Realmente hemos encontrado formas de saber a medida que aprendemos, a medida que
• Estamos encontrando formas de servir comidas de las queestamos pr oud de nuevo y no lo digo
de mala manera, pero siento que al principio de esto, estábamos sirviendo comidas que
podíamos servir.
• Estábamos encontrando la comida que podíamos encontrar, y la estábamos haciendo llegar a la
gente como cualquier forma en que pudiéramos conseguirla.
• Ahora empiezo a ver gente allí. Están volviendo a ser capaces de hacer las cosas que les encanta
hacer. Hay un distrito en California, sobre el que se acaba de leer, que ha vuelto a la
cocina de rasguño.
• Hay personas que simplemente están dando más frutas y verduras. Estamos volviendo a
eso ahora.
• Espero que a medida que nos adentramos en esto, a medida que nuestra normalidad sigue
cambiando, lleguemos a un punto en el que podamos hacer las cosas que realmente amamos
hacer antes. Porque hemos llegado al punto en el que sabemos cómo alimentar a la gente y
podemos seguir haciéndolo cada vez mejor ahora, a medida que avanza y volver a donde
estábamos con las verduras frescas, con el rasguño, la cocina, con las cosas hacia las que
realmente estábamos haciendo avances increíbles.
• Lo que espero que seamos capaces de hacer como industria es mantener ese perfil y
no permitir que vuelva a ser solo una parte del servicio ofrecido por el escuela, pero
realmente impulsó esta idea de que la nutrición debe ser una parte de la parte de instrucción
de la escuela y no solo algo que hacemos.
• La gente ve que ahora a lo largo de la pandemia, es importante que sigamos adelante, que
la gente entienda que realmente estamos haciendo un job bastante grande aquí y que es muy
importante en la vida cotidiana deestos niños.

Turning The Corner in Child Nutrition

School Nutrition Education Program

Turning The Corner in Child Nutrition

USDA Professional Standards Code- 3450/2230/4120/4140


● Bart Christian – Chairman of School Food Handler
● Lindsay Aguilar – Director of Food Nutrition at Tucson Unified School District

What is it that keeps you stuck through all the stuff that we’ve been going through? What is it that is
driven by that passion as who we’ve had to pivot in a new direction?

The passion is just as a dietician, I certainly am very passionate about providing nutrition to children and
helping shape their eating habits for their lifetime.

● I think that’s an essential skill that all children should have the opportunity to be exposed to so
through the federal meal programs and our schools, being able to teach them about nutrition
and provide meals that are represented or representative wholesome meal should look like it’s
certainly part of the passion, but then there’s also just with food insecurity and knowing that the
work that we do provides meals to children that may not receive meals, if it wasn’t for the work
we do.

● In particular, during these challenging times with Covid-19, just so many families that have gone
through some tumultuous times and loss of jobs and furloughs and not being able to make ends
meet just the gratitude that we have received for continuing to provide these services to our
community definitely keep myself and our staff that momentum going and the passion going for

● I think, just being that we are an integral part of the educational systems and I think I take that
very seriously. I think we’ve this time has definitely brought that to the table for more people to
realize so that’s I guess the long answer to your question, a lot of areas of passion.
I’ve seen you quoted in several things where they’ve called you and asked you about things and how
did you find yourself in that spot?
I think it kind of started just through my involvement with snazzy and attending the LAC conference in
D.C. I think in just some of my networking connections with other directors that are involved at snazz
and at the USDA level. I was approached last year to do an interview with SNA for a piece that they were
working on.

This was all pre-Covid like literally weeks before it all started. Through that experience their public media
relations person has continued to reach out to me, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m willing to do it and
maybe a lot of people aren’t comfortable doing interviews or different things, but it’s been a great

Over the course of this pandemic, I’ve done quite a lot of different interviews from a variety. Different
publications and it certainly for me that’s another piece of the passion is just spreading the word of the
important work that we do and the challenges that we’ve all had to face and pivot and come out
stronger and better. I love to be able to share our stories.

What are some things that you and your team have been able to do this year but it may be a little?

I think for us, I know every district’s different but, in our district, we are more of the minority in at least
in our state that has not actually opened hybrid. I think in some ways that’s given us a little bit of an
advantage because we continue to kind of operate what we’ve been doing, now for since March, but we
have added some twists to it. I think it was starting to get a little stagnant and then we would have plans
to open up and then it would get changed. What’s something that is one of my favorite things that we’ve

● We started in September as we were running our bus routes like we had been doing but then
our schools started obviously remote. I know a challenge for operators that across the country
has just been, if you’re doing buses or curbside matching your lunches to the schedules of the
remote learning has been very challenging for the accessibility for parents to get to the meal
stops or the schools, if you’re doing curbside to pick up, not correlating with their actual times
that they’re off for lunch for the remote learning because not everybody has the same schedule.
I mean, it’s in our district, it was really impossible to be honest, to set up our lunchtimes, to work
with 88 different locations.

● So, we identified early on that we were definitely losing participation once remote learning
started in August because a lot of parents could not get to our bus stops at the time frame that
was designated because their kids were on blind.

● They couldn’t leave them, or the parents were at work. What we started doing was offering a
weekly drive through pickup of a work, a week’s worth of meals at our central facility. It’s
essentially located for us in our district since we are such a large district, kind of in the middle
has worked well and we started off doing it later in the afternoon, so we were offering like a 3:30
to 5:30 or four to six.

● We’ve kind of played around with the different timeframes. We have a registration process to
ensure that parents are not picking up at the bus stops and the weekly pickups, so we do have a
little kind of anticipation station that they sign off. This has been very successful for us and quite
honestly, it’s way more efficient than the daily bus stops for us.

● Our buses are only able to still physically have the capacity for us to have two days’ worth of
food on them. With the numbers that we do, we’re not able to do a week’s worth of meals on
our buses so we’re running those every day, doing breakfast and lunch and then snack and
supper but the D has been really problematic for us.

● So this onetime event that we’re doing once a week for a two to three hour window, has really,
really greatly impacted getting more participation in our current grabbing meal grab and go meal
program and the response from we really found kind of the niche for the families that really
wanted to take advantage of the meal program, but were at work or couldn’t leave during the
day to go to the bus stop so they’ve been very, very grateful to have a later time frame in the day
that works for their schedule that they can at least set it up, super-efficient.

● We utilize our parking lot; we have two of our refrigerated trucks that are set up. We partner
with our school safety officers and they help us with traffic control or doing about 600 cars in a
three-hour window so we’ve got it down pretty, pretty good without the traffic backing up too
much but we’re doing seven days’ worth of meals, five snacks, five suffers all at one time and so
that’s been something that’s been very successful to just expand our reach.

When you say that you’re doing seven meals, just for clarification, is that what you’re planning on
doing for the holiday season for giving the kids food over that Christmas break?

Yeah. We’ll run; we’re doing it on Wednesday so we’ll run hours on Wednesday prior to winter break that
will roll into the first week of winter break. We’re only going to do one other pickup during winter break
just because our staff, the consensus, we all need a break.

They’ve all been working really hard, but we are going to do one pickup during the winter break to give
us another opportunity to provide meals to our families during that two-week period. Again, I really
think the parents also appreciate it that they only have to come one time. It’s a lot more convenient that
they get all of the same amount of food that they would normally get so we’re doing the seven-breakfast
southern lunch and then when school’s in session, we can do the five snacks and the five suffer as well.

How has this affected participation? I know that you and I had a conversation about how things
somewhat improved over the last few weeks. As far as participation goes, do you attribute this
formula that you’ve come up with?

Yeah, absolutely. The business side, as far as the revenue piece goes, has basically gotten to us to a point
where we’ve been able to sustain our expenses prior to us doing this.

● We weren’t even covering our payroll with our revenue because our numbers were down so
much. We’ve only been serving about 20% of our normal feeding capacity that we do during the
normal school year. Our revenue from reimbursement was down tremendously.

● Doing these weekly pickups definitely addressed a need in our community but that also really
has helped salvage some of our participation, numbers and revenue and as far as operational
costs, at least for us, because we have a warehouse.

● We have refrigerated trucks. I certainly know that this wouldn’t work for a lot of districts that
don’t have some of the same resources that we do but the amount of time and labor that this
takes to pull off in return for what we gained with the more efficient process than the numbers
that we get on our bus stops.

● Our buses do them every day, breakfast and lunch and then our weekly pickup that we run just
once a week does seven breakfasts, seven lunch, five snacks, and five sufferings all at one time.
We give out a gallon versus all of the milk for all of the various weeks’ worth that we’re doing.

● This also really helped us utilize a lot of the foods that we already had an inventory of that were
a little more challenging to pull off on the bus route.

● We have staff assembling chicken patties on a bun or bagging up slices of pizza that we had and
things we’re coming up with. Multiple cups of vegetables in one bag that covers the week and
we’ve really been able to tap into some of our inventory because on our buses, we were
primarily utilizing pre-packaged items but now with this book kind of assembly.

● We’ve been able to utilize a lot of our inventory that had just been stagnant because we didn’t
have the numbers that we had and the type of foods that we needed on our buses. This is
different. It gives us a lot more flexibility and it’s worked well with assembly teams and all of that
to pull this off.

How has your staff retention been and ultimately, how are you handling the staffing and labor costs
for this year?

We have been fortunate that we’ve been able to sustain our current staffing levels as far as it has not
opted to. At this point, consider any type of furloughs or layoffs or anything like that, which is great.
● We have some staff that have decided to retire a little early or resigned just because everything
going on but for the most part, the majority of our staff is still committed to the work that they
do and they’ve been so flexible and all of the shifts that we’ve had to make from one week it’s
like, “Okay, you’re preparing for kids to come back”, “Here’s the plan”, “This is what you need to
do”, and then two days later we’re not going back.

● We need to shift back to the buses and these pickups. Our staff has just been so flexible and
basically, I think a lot of them are truly just grateful that they have a job and we’re able to
continue to do what we do.

● Although it looks very different and we’re serving frozen food, which I know is so weird to them
and not being able to cook food, we’ve been fortunate to continue kind of where we’ve been at,
to date and not have to make any major changes so I’m grateful for that for sure.

What does menu planning actually look like for you this school year and what types of items are you
finding to be successful?

Yeah. Menu planning has definitely been quite a ride as part we’ve got. We have multiple different
menus, so we have our on-site menus for our students that are on site, the at-risk students. We do have
very small amounts of students on our campuses, McKinney, Vento, or foster students, refugees. We are
still feeding those students every day then we have our bus menu, which we’re primarily using
pre-packaged items. Although, we are starting to incorporate some of the items that we’re packaging
in-house on the bus routes.
● I think now that the pandemic has gone on for quite some time. Initially we were for safety
protocols only using pre-packaged items, but over the course of the last couple months, we
started to introduce in bags or containers with our safety protocols for staff following. It’s been
very well received. We haven’t had concerns with that, but I think it was just a matter we needed
to get through some time for our community and families to be open and receptive to that
versus seeing something that’s already commercially sealed.

● We have our bus menu and then we have our weekly pickup menu that incorporates different
items. We have depending on how we’re serving it on a bus or a drive through where we’re
doing bold or on site where they’re actually cooking food. We’ve been building our menus to
correlate appropriately with our needs for service. That’s the biggest driving factor. “What are
you putting it in?” “How are you serving it?”, “Is it hot food?”, “Is it cold food?”, and then
efficiently “How are you bagging everything?”, so we’ve got quite a system down and as in how
many bags can we fit in our crates and all, I mean, it’s all a numbers and down to the T and we’ve
got a very organized system and color coding different pallets but our team has done an
outstanding job of keeping it all organized and assigning everybody there are different roles. For
us to be able to assemble the items that aren’t pre-packaged for us, that’s been another
opportunity that we can utilize our current staffing because our numbers are so low at our
school sites, and then we only need so many staff on our buses every day.
● We have a pool of employees that we have available to us in a way that we can utilize those
staffing hours to assemble things that we already had in inventory, or that are less expensive.
The pre-packaged items that we can go ahead and package ourselves.

Are you finding it difficult to use commodities or is that we get into work?

Yeah. I think there’s been a lot of challenges in the commodity because our allocations were done
obviously prior to Nick, when we had our menu plans, January, February, last year for this year.

● Menuing a lot of the items that we had planned with our commodity allocations, because we’re
not cooking, preparing food on site, or we’re doing the book. We have been able to utilize some
of our commodities but the biggest challenge too, is that our numbers, our current numbers are
down so much that our usage is nowhere near what we had allocated, and I know this is a huge
concern to deal with because it’s not moving the poundage.

● We’re getting the notifications that we’ve got 200,000 pounds of beef that we haven’t utilized
because we’re not making meat sauce right now because we’re not preparing food. We’re
sending frozen items that families can easily heat up at home. I think this is a piece that I was
just on a call earlier today. How can we incorporate some items that maybe we hadn’t thought
about that we can incorporate to help utilize some commodities and other us foods that are
available that just aren’t moving because it’s not what operators are looking for.

● We definitely have shifted to more non-pre-packaged items again because we have our
centralized warehouse. We could make a lot of work, but we also still have that integrity of
quality and perception that we have to deal with from our customers and our families.
How about containers? I know that is one of the things that we were taught that kind of was talked
about early.

Yeah. We definitely have seen improvements in that area. I think that’s been one of the biggest
challenges with planning and menu planning is we have our plan, but then the truck doesn’t show up or
we get, it’s a half a truck instead of a whole truck that we ordered because there’s a supply chain issue
for sure.

Our school safety department has been another key partner in doing traffic control at some of our bus
stops and also at our weekly pickups. Our superintendent has led during this entire time and bringing all
the departments together consistently and planning and connecting. I think I said this the last time, I
have no issues kind of like inserting myself if I have to. I really think that at least in our district, I will say,

it’s been really amazing to see how well the communication has happened and we’ve developed a Covid
website and all the resources and materials and questions for all the departments and working without
family resources. We have these opportunities for free meals and the principals have been marketing the
marquee drivers.

What type of resources are you utilizing?

Our district has some training resources available to all district staff.

What type of work from home opportunities are you offering during these times?

When our school year started the new contract year for our staff depending on what type of employee,
they are 10-month or 12-month at the end of July, beginning of August. Our district identified essential
employees which means those that were required to work on site and not work remotely so food service
staff was one of the identified essential. Employees, as far as the cafeteria worker, can’t prepare food
from home or a bus driver can’t drive a bus from home so we were able to be flexible in the spring under
the governor’s order but that shifted when we started our new contract years. Our food service staffs
have been working on site since the new school year has started.

How are situations like that handled?

We have a district protocol that’s in line with an update as needed with the Pima county health
department and the CDC. I think our district’s done a great job. It’s literally a chart, it’s pretty cut and dry.
It gives you different scenarios.

If you’ve tested positive, if you’ve been exposed asymptomatic, or quarantined for 14 days, depending
on and then we also have our health services department.

What are you all doing in the district when that happens with someone?

Yeah. We have our district through the families first Corona-Virus Act. We have all of our district staff, has
that emergency paid sick leave time that is available to them to utilize for the various scenarios whether
they have to care for a child who can’t be at school or they’re in isolation, or they have CO-VID or a
member of their household, there’s different qualifying factors and then they can utilize that time and
then of course, their sick time or whatever other balances they might have available. Our district has
made that process.

I feel a very pretty simple form that you fill out as soon as you might have. The five for one of the
scenarios that you can utilize those sick hours that are provided to us for those exact scenarios and then
we have the criteria for family medical leaves all apply as well. We have some employees that have
chosen to take an LOA or medical leave.

Is there anything you’d like to close our viewers with for this episode?

I would just want to thank everybody in the industry and child nutrition and from manufacturers,
vendors, operators, staff. We’re all in this together even if we’re in different parts of the country or the

I think the longer this goes on, we’ve all learned so much and I think our each day a little bit better
prepared for the moment but I think the only thing I would say is I’ve been trying a lot how can I best
prepare now that our whole world for the last nine months has been so vulnerable and just shifting
phone call that comes in at seven o’clock at night, “Oh, this is happening tomorrow.”, It’s like, “Oh my
gosh, you know, how am I going to pull this off?”, or so I think I’ve really just tried to come up with some
what are my backup plans? What if this happens, that happens kind of now knowing some of the
unknowns that we didn’t know before, what I’ve learned is how we can have a little bit more emergency
preparedness, I guess you would call it for.

In my world and that I interact with it’s you’re starting to feel that CO-VID effect again and this is all
happening again and it’s surging and it’s affecting everybody’s life again. Just trying to step back on all of
the things that we have so much to be grateful for and thankful for going into the holidays and staying
safe and appreciating what everybody does for sure.

Working Remotely and Having a Positive Attitude

School Nutrition Education Program

Working Remotely and Having a Positive Attitude

USDA Professional Standards Code 4140/4150


Bart Christian

Mr. Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

What’s a piece of advice you can suggest to people in the food service industry to stay motivated?

• The most important thing that we need to do is to protect is our mind.
• Don’t inundate yourself with negative news.
• Watching the news can be overwhelming, and it’s important to keep your mind healthy as
possible. I suggest not watching the news for 48 hours, and I promise you by that time, 48 hours
later, things are not going to change much.
• Stay up to be a good resource for your customers and be a positive resource for the people around
• Having a positive outlook in life will help you accomplish tasks in a home setting.

What kind of skills do you think would help individuals who are working from home to be prepared
when switching back to office setting?

Spend as much time working on yourself. You’re only as strong as the construction that you create in
yourself in your job. I believe people who work hard on their job tend to be moderately successful, but
people who are hard on themselves and then translate that into working hard on their job, tend to be
supremely successful.

Here are the three top things we need to ponder:
• Delivering communication
• Handling Change
• Dealing with difficult situations

What virtual tools have you been using on a regular basis?

Zoom – I use zoom because it’s simple and convenient to use. I have a friend from New York who has 30
family members scattered across the country. They’ve been doing routine Thursday evening and for me,
it’s a great way to communicate and reach out to people during this pandemic.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of having zoom meeting:


• Touch base with people and see them face to face
• As long as you have a good internet connection, you’re good!
• You can’t talk at the same time
• People don’t know how to mute their mics

I also recommend using, a free service virtual tool that allows you to do a once on one call, you
can do screen sharing and things in nature.

What tips can you give to people on how to adjust in a new learning environment?

• When you are not comfortable, I think it’s very important for people to understand that it doesn’t
necessarily mean you have to sit there, listen or study facing a computer whole day.
• The reality is, you just have to let it play. If I’m wanting to learn something, I’ll put something on
my computer and just let it play while I’m working, doing something else.
• You don’t have to be formal to learn. You can learn in any environment, as long as you absorb
information and take advantage of them.
• Replace that negative input with positive learning input.
• Revisit powerful information that made an impact in your life – re-read a book, re-listen to your
favorite music, re-study the course you liked
• Going back and hearing something twice, reading something twice for three or four times,
sometimes you might find yourself coming over with a completely different understanding.

How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your family while working from home?

• Respecting space – It’s very important that your spouse respect your space if you’re working from
home. If you’re both working along, I suggest you take shifts in taking care of your children
• Allocating time – During off-work, allocate a time for leisure. Block out a time for a specific task.
Make sure that you both enjoy the quality time and stay on the lighter side of things. Quality time
is important and keeping your attitude right.
• Increase sensitivity – Be sure that you’re being sensitive because stress is inevitable – when we
are frustrated, make sure we don’t translate that frustration to somebody else. It’s about
listening, understanding and give people the space that they need

Turning Difficulty Into Opportunity

School Nutrition Education Program

Turning Difficulty Into Opportunity

USDA Professional Standards Code-4120/4130/4140/4150/4160


● West Christian – CEO of Food Handler Solutions & School Food Handler
● Bart Christian – Chairman of School Food Handler
● Michael Miller – President of Smart Systems serving school districts across Indiana, Michigan,
Kentucky, Ohio.

How can the food industry and school food authorities continue to work together and show support for
each other as we start planning for this upcoming school year?

I appreciate the question and you’re a hundred percent correct. I think, to use the analogy that no one
likes to change, but a baby with a wet diaper, it’s so true and we’ve all been kind of thrust into this
situation and we all have been forced to embrace change. If you’re not embracing this chaos and this
change, those are the people that I really feel for.

● I think those of us that are kind of looking at this, taking it day by day, to the degree that we can
is so important for all of us, but I remember back in literally it was at the lake that of action and
conference in Washington, DC and life seemed so normal. Just a few months ago here, we were
lobbying congress for the importance of school nutrition programs and trying to help them
understand the essential nature of school nutrition and literally we got back from that trip.

● On that Friday the 13th, schools across the United States closed, but unlike a lot of businesses
that came to an end temporarily, school nutrition professionals showed up for work that same
day, never went home in some cases, and literally started planning to put meals together and
out in front of their community that Monday morning. Those people who have our school
nutrition professional friends are truly heroes for what they’ve done and showing up.

● You think about it that the unemployment rate in February was the greatest economy in half a
century at three and a half 10, but this last month we lost 20 and a half million jobs.
Unemployment rate is closing in at 15 at and today, I think it’s gone even higher.

● I think the estimates are that we’re gonna be twenty-five percent here very soon. To say that the
situation is unprecedented, I don’t think there’s a better word for it. It’s truly something that I
don’t think any of us ever could have imagined. With that being said, I think your question is
what we can be doing, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think it’s so important for us to all
maintain good communication and to stay engaged.

● The situation as we look back and as I was just kind of thinking about our conversation today,
those first few days. In fact, the first few weeks’ situation was changing by the day and in many
cases, by the hour, we were getting guidance and directions and speculating and wondering. It
was just the constant, just when you thought you had things figured out, they changed the rules

● I think that all of us need to continue to practice good communication but also good flexibility. I
was listening to your show with Joe Pettit last week and just being patient and being flexible are
so important. Again, back to embracing change.

● The key for all of us is to stay relevant and to continue to support and proactive ways because
Michael and I have been share a couple of days we’ve been on phone calls together and one of
the key things I hear is that you have to really trains of thought and one of them is what do we
do and another one is how can we take advantage and stay relevant to our customers and still be
sure that we’re providing them the resources that are timely for this time that we’re in because
this too shall pass but for this time period for us to survive as vendor partners, we have to be just
that we have to be partners.

● I think telling, helping our customers tell their story, I think is also very important right now and
tell you how many people I’ve talked to and that we can say that a hundred percent of our
customers are closed but 90% or more are trying to do the business. Well, 95% of our customers
are trying to serve meals and many of them are serving more meals than ever some fewer than
ever, but they’re all to take the kids in their community and that’s unprecedented and most
people when you start to tell them that they’re like, “Wow, I had no idea that that was going on.”

● I think the news media is doing a solid job of covering the medical professionals and the food
banks that are out there, but I think there’s been a missed opportunity of really focusing on
school nutrition professionals and I think we’re starting to hear that, thank goodness. I think as
industry professionals and as members of the school nutrition industry, I think we could all help
each other by continuing to tell the positive story that’s going on because it is truly good news.
We talked about being made and feet of Jesus for those of us that are Christians and truly, these
people are all of us included are truly being the hands and feet right now in this unprecedented

How do you see or foresee the way that meals are served in schools? How do you foresee that
changing in the summer?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think in listening to what some of our school nutrition operators have
been saying is I think that this syncing plans and requirements that are going to be in there that I think
many of them are anticipating some type of grab and go or grab and serve or go to the cafeteria, serve,
get your meal and bring it back to a classroom could be there.

● I think having some simpler menu items are going to continue, but I also hear directors trying to
figure out how they’re going to be able to serve some of the favorites the kids like and enjoy and
look forward to. I think that while it’s still early, I think many of our food service directors out
there are thinking very creatively and I know having been on a number of SNA webinars recently
listening to industry members that are also trying to do and so back to that communication piece
earlier, the better we understand what the school nutrition professionals need, the better all of
us can respond and I think the exciting things but it’s still so very early to tell what’s going to
happen in a couple of months but I know everybody’s anxious the plan and it’s going to be state
to state and a lot of ways because I think Wyoming is going back to school next week. They’re
reopening their schools.

● If I didn’t read that wrong this morning and you’re going to have people like Michael said, grab
and go. You’re going to see people run. You’ve run a kiosk up and down the hallways, delivering
hot meals. You’re going to have kids go into the cafeteria and get the meals and bring it back. It’s
really going to depend and it’s almost going to be district to district, and I don’t know Michael if
you feel about this, but I don’t really see the USDA or the CDC giving any major guidance on how
meals are served. Other than maybe some type of social distancing will continue to have to be
maintained for a period of time.

● I think part of that is each school, they were never designed to handle this kind of feeding. It
blew my mind that just recently we were talking to a school nutrition director who was talking
about the number of meals that they were serving. They were essentially serving right now, a
week’s worth of meals on a Monday.

● Three meals a day or two meals a day, it might’ve been breakfast and lunch served for the week
but think about the production of that many meals, where do you put all of that cold food when
your cold food storage wasn’t designed for that. This whole challenge has opened the door to
some interesting challenges that these schools have yet to figure out and have developed
procedures around. Being in the cleaning and the food safety and sanitation side of the industry.

● The good from on the positive side, school nutrition professionals have always done a very good
job of teaching, keeping our citizens clean and for many of them, it isn’t but what is important is
making sure that those procedures that have been in place are actually being applied
consistently on a daily basis and I’ll just share this one other anecdote is that recently on our
recent FM weapon, they were talking about some research that was actually conducted in
schools as it related to sanitation and specifically as it pertained to sanitizer buckets and while
the vast majority of people understood the importance of those sanitizer buckets, very few
actually use them correctly and or change them out properly.

● I only share that as a small example of how we’re adapting to this new normal and considering
we’re dealing with a pandemic and a very dangerous virus that the level of awareness. It’s so
essential for our school nutrition professionals and again, back to industry members of trying to
be conscientious and cognizant of that and our role.

How do you see supply chains being affected by the virus, the shutdown, and trade tensions with
China and things of that nature?

That’s a great question and I appreciate it. You gave me advanced notice to think about that, but even
with the advanced notice. Again, I go back to the crystal ball and not being an expert in braid of anything
but I think that just using some Layman’s terms or just maybe a Layman’s approach to this is that I think
that just like we’re hearing about with Tyson, a great supplier of poultry products that if any member of
their human, in this case, they had a number of people that got sick on a plant.

● The impact of that plant was to shut it completely down. The companies left in a tailspin and
meanwhile, the country is what they couldn’t keep up with production. It’s not just Tyson and I
don’t mean to point them out to in any way disparage their name because we know that Tyson is
a great company, but whether you’re a small company or a big company, we can all be affected if
we don’t take care of our people and keep them safe.

● That buy and demand equation, a variable in the equation I should say is that if people get sick in
this industry, it could severely interrupt the food chain very quickly and I don’t have a crystal ball
on what the tariffs are going to do or what China is going to do. I just know and I can speak for
what we’re seeing in our own grocery stores. When you go to cast Sam’s and you see that the
meat aisle has been completely decimated. Why can only translate to that as meaning that we
could have that same trouble in our school nutrition programs with our customers being able to
get access to those great products and food items that they look forward to having and

● I’ll also just share one other side note, one of my best friends is a big farmer in Indiana and they
were very scared about this dynamic because they didn’t think about it but if a farmer gets sick
from the Covid situation and had to spend weeks in bed or in a hospital, even worse, who’s there
to plant that field for them when you have one growing season in our market. You think about
what’s the impact on the supply chain. That’s something we’re seeing right now is immediate,
but I think there’s going to be other implications that come in the months ahead that we haven’t
even seen yet. I wish I could say more about that, to the degree that I feel comfortable speaking
about it. That’s what I think is happening.

● I would just add this is that there’s going to be other ancillary things that are going to be affected
as well. People think about food. When you think about challenges, when you think about a food

service operation, there’s a great many other things that are used in a cafeteria.
● One of the things that I see with the serving thing is we’re going to go from having trays and
disposable ones probably haven’t having containers. Where are those containers going to come
from? Schools that are we looking for? Spray bottles and buckets and things like that.

● If they don’t have vendors that are capable of supplying those things, then that could cause an
issue too and we’re all going to be kind of minding those things very carefully and making sure
that people take care of what they’ve got because we really don’t know, like Michael said, we
don’t have a crystal ball. We really don’t know what the future holds for the entire supply chain,
not just food, but everything.

● I think the other thing that we are hearing in our specific segment of the industry is something
that we’ve never had to deal with, but the potential for rations. Because of the demand in the
sanitation industry, as you can imagine, hand sanitizers for journal cleaners for the plastics and
accessories that are being used in them.

● Everyone’s trying to figure out how to take better care and clean and disinfect their operations
from school districts to office buildings. I think that what we’re seeing is that you have rations
that we’re having to may not be able to get the same level of supply that we were a few months
ago, just because of what we talked about. It could be because essential services have been
allowed to work, but then somebody gets half the shut down and, or a voluntary shutdown just
to keep and protect their staff but then you have non-essential services that haven’t been in
business and suddenly they open up and they have a glut of orders that they need to somehow
get caught up with and challenges may be getting the raw materials that are necessary to get
that done.

It’s a very complex situation for sure and the financial crisis is real. What Bart just mentioned about the
financial crunch to the school district, a year, many schools that are providing new meals and new
containers and disposable products that they had never budgeted for so that’s another challenge that
we haven’t really seen before.

What should school food authorities take into consideration when budgeting before they add a new
service drop? What are some things that are important for them to keep in mind?

I would certainly say that supply chain challenges, like what we just talked about, the potentials for
rationing and shortages are essential and back to the first comment, how we started the meeting. I think
communication is so important and I know that our food vendors especially try to get estimates and
numbers for what they think they’re going to need. I don’t know how you can produce anything if you
don’t know what you’re going to need and so all of our vendors are asking for the fact, we’ve already
submitted orders for the fall time. Here we are on May 8th, and we’ve got orders for July and August as
our orders are as manufacturers want to know what they need to produce.

● I think probably from a school food authority’s need, get with drip or get with your vendors and
try to talk about these things so that they can get some idea of what you’re going to need or
what your needs are and while demand is down for some items, it’s unprecedented for others.
Again, you might work with your vendor to find out that the item that you were hoping to maybe
feed on your menu or that piece of equipment that you had really hoped to procure. It may not
be available, but there may be alternate items available that could be just as good that are in
stock. I think reaching out to your vendors and just working hand in hand is really important.

● The last comment you made was if I think about making a switch or tapping a vendor, I would
just encourage all schools authorities to really consider the value proposition that your industry
partners may be the table because their industry perspective and experience and expertise may
be more valuable than ever and switching because of the price of something or getting rid of it
could be a very dangerous move at this time, because you may end up in a position where you
aren’t able to get anything in the aftermath. It’s just so important to work together.

● I think that’s key because everybody’s always looking for new business but during this time,
vendors are gonna be primarily focused and taking care of their existing customers first and so
when you become a new customer to somebody ordinarily that makes you special, sometimes,
and to going forward into this next year, that may not necessarily be 100% the case if that makes

What type of opportunities do you see that have opened up for school food authorities and this
upcoming gear, whether it be technological opportunities, whether it be training opportunities,
whether it be really increasing participation through great marketing? What type of opportunities are
you hearing from folks that they’re looking into, or what type of suggestions do you have for school
food authorities to look into more?

That’s a great question and I know that we’re probably just as we banter and kick this around, we could
probably think of some more opportunities. I think this is one of those things where I think when you get
into some think tanks and start brainstorming, I can’t underestimate the value of that. Kind of group
mentality could be very powerful right now, but I think what school nutrition operators have done and
whether it’s happened all as a natural by-product of this pandemic is that they’ve proven their essential
role and their stock has increased exponentially right now.

● I think while many food service directors like the idea of flying under the radar and didn’t want
to be on the radar. They’re now on the radar more than ever and so I would encourage every
school, food authority, every food service director out there to take advantage and instead of
fight against this wave, I’d get on top of it and surf it and try to take advantage of the marketing
and try to public promote as much as possible the good things that they’re doing for their
community. I think the others on the backside of this pandemic, there’s going to be an
opportunity to talk about the opportunity to improve their programs, to re-invest into
technology and to new equipment. The things that maybe they’ve been asking for and have
been getting put off might finally come through.

● I definitely think that this is going to drive the need for technology. If you’re a school and we
know out there that many of them have outdated equipment and are overdue for updating, well
this is a great time to maybe look at that. If you have food and your freezers and coolers, and
they don’t have some kind of a monitoring system as an example, the potential for that cooler
and freezer to go out, the dollar volume of that food may be more valuable than ever because
these are dependent upon that food more than ever. These are things that maybe we take for
granted and maybe the school food service director has been sort of going to the business
manager or the superintendent and saying, “Hey, I really need this.” and they’ve been told “No,
well, now may be an excellent time to reposition that.”

● I think for ended members to be looking for that opportunity and trying not to just do it to
self-promote their products and services, but looking for the win-win situation instead of maybe
going for ancillary items that may not be as important right now is to really focus in on the pain
points of the school nutrition authorities that are out there and really try to better position
products and services that truly do have a value and a return on investment and then try to help
that director position it in a positive way that will help their business fix or a superintendent
makes sense of it. I think those are some opportunities that are there right now, but the need for
marketing communication is so important and there are some easy places to begin.

I’ve been talking to directors across the country before this happened since last December about
developing marketing tools for internal marketing, because one of the greatest challenges I see in child
nutrition has been here before. Getting attention for the great job that they do every single day and
getting the superintendents, the school boards, the teachers, the parents, to understand the value of
what they do. Clearly a lot of those hurdles to overcome in the last few weeks, because now parents are
actually getting to see the food that the kids are being served. The superintendents, the teachers are
beginning to see the hard work that these ladies and gentlemen do every single day. In essence that
marketing effort has already been started, I think that school nutrition, operations have been given as a
tremendous opportunity to carry forward and show people that yes, we truly are. Lunch school
superhero day really does mean something.

● I think that is something that I’ve got. The second opportunity I see is that with technology
advancement and what we’ve seen with assumes and with the online training things that have
been done over the past few weeks and people doing at home training, people are beginning to
understand us.

● I think I see the value of developing a culture of training. I think districts that have been doing
these large one time a year congregate meetings, where they do a meeting and have a six-hour
session, and then they don’t do anything else for the rest of the year. I think they’re beginning to
understand they’re not going to go do that, number one. The second thing is that this type of
training really doesn’t carry forward into the year because we both know that if we say
something to somebody in August, come October, November, we’re having to say the same thing
over again. Seeing them develop a culture of training and ongoing cultural training, I think is
going to be something we’re going to see a lot and the use of technology is going to be a big part
of that.

● I think it’s going to be a couple approaches. Before, I think a lot of people may have ignored the
value of online training and even program formats like where it’s a live trainer that may be being
cast over a screen to an in-service audience at a school. All of these things now are going to be
one more tool in the tool chest that I think our customers says too and I think that’s another
value that we can offer.

● I think if you’re a food service vendor to show how you could prepare a menu and how that goes
could be done easily over something like this, a platform like a video training. If you were an
equipment vendor, to be able to show someone how to use your combi oven and or clean it
properly in a video, a thing like this could be very helpful or for us to do things like this because
as you said, you then have the archived file that you can go back to and rewatch. As we all know,
each one of these training lessons are unique in themselves.

● Sometimes we don’t say the same things. Having that lesson captured, I think it’s going to be
important that this is a great way to have a very informal exchange. Maybe when we do training
though, we need to think about having some of it more scripted to ensure that we hit those high
points because when people sit down to watch these training videos, I think it will be very
important to make sure we’re hitting those high points that it is somewhat done professionally
but I don’t think we have to have a video editor and a video shops in our companies. Some of
this, like what we’re doing right now over a laptop computer, or a cell phone might be just raw
enough and professional enough at the same time to get the job done.

● I had one other point I wanted to go back to in four weeks. We moved on to the online training
which we can go back through, but I think back to the opportunities. I think that right now, it
used to be that certainly school food service opportunities or school food programs obviously
had a high participation with the free and reduced categories.

● All right now, in light of unemployment, there’s 25% of the country on the verge of being
unemployed and that doesn’t discriminate. That unemployment number, you have people of all
different socio-economic backgrounds that are now qualifying for free and reduced-price meals.

● I think the opportunity is for our customers to capture a whole new audience that they didn’t
have before, but in a very important way, serving meals that are more essential than ever. You go
back to when the school nutrition program first began as a part of our national defense program.

● Again, if we are truly in a war with an invisible enemy, then these school meal programs are
moreover, and I think that’s the opportunity too. It’s just to get back to maybe some of the
basics here.

What type of marketing or what can these food service operations do to really make their customers
feel safe again eating?

I think everyone that’s going to go out is going to be scared a little bit of this invisible enemy. I think that
making sure number one, that your staff are well-trained, that your food handlers are very well trained
on food safety and sanitation, and obviously precautions for this Covid virus, making sure that people are
wearing masks.

Visually, it’s one thing to go. I wouldn’t go into a store recently, as an example, they’ve provided masks
for their employees, but the employees are wearing them on their chin or on their forehead. What good
does that do and what does it accumulate if it’s there and not in your mouth? It’s no different than what
we’ve been saying about wearing disposable gloves properly.

● In this case, in this era right now, I think it’s so important that they demonstrate good
understanding, they should demonstrate their knowledge and they practice and apply it

● I think it is very important that the customers see that because it will put them at ease that this
person that is serving me now understands the risk and cares about me enough that they’re
going to follow it. I think that’s a really key and simple thing that a restaurant or a school
nutrition program could do and also market the use of that.

● If they’re in their social media, in their marketing or whatever they do, maybe have we’re
working on some tools right now that we’re going to roll out next week that are basically posters
that you can put up in a food service operation that show how to properly wear a mask, how to
properly take a mask off, recognizing common symptoms, recognizing common centers, not only
yourself, but other people, just let people know through those types of things.

● We’re not only looking out for you, but we’re also watching ourselves and monitoring those
things. The mask thing, to be perfectly honest with you, I would say no less than 50% of the
people that I see wearing masks out when I’m out and about doing whatever we get to do now
or wearing the mask properly, and the other 50% are doing this the whole time. They’re
fidgeting with it and picking at it and doing something. Those types of behaviors can’t be present
in the food service operation. Whoever runs that operation gets a restaurant or a school has to
be very, very clear with their staff. These are things that we absolutely do not do in front of the

● We all know that behind the scenes, sometimes things can be a bit off sometimes, but those
habits have to be agreeable. Completely, totally and constantly amongst the staff because
otherwise customers might walk in and they might sit down, they see somebody woke up with
their gloves on their mass, serve them and then as we’re walking away doing this with their
mask, it’s going to send a bad signal and they may get up and leave or they may never come back
and they’re going to tell all their friends and that’s reality. How many of us have.

● Seeing someone not wearing a mask might be just enough to say, “I don’t feel comfortable here.”
That’s the new normal that I think we’re going to be in for a little while. I don’t think it will be,
but for at least the near future, that’s going to be the key to restaurant and foodservice survival
in the next 18 months. It’s going to be the sending the proper signals to your customers because
as we said, or this too shall pass, but the fear and the paranoia will be the last thing to go after
the virus.

● We’ve been trying to patronize restaurants during this time because I know that the impact that
it’s had on their market too, has been unprecedented. As we’ve done this, we have seen both
the really good people that have really implemented good procedures and I feel totally
comfortable, and we keep going back to those facilities and then I see others that haven’t gotten
a clue yet and still don’t get it.

● I think it’s just a matter of time, unfortunately, before it they’re either going to go out of business
or they’re going to get on board with. I just want to say that I am so proud of our school nutrition
industry. I’m proud of our team and I think we’re all paying attention carefully and trying to
adapt appropriately and very quickly. Again, I can’t speak for other industries, and I’ll stay in my
lane on this, but I really am proud of the school nutrition industry and especially our heroic
school food professionals who have just done an amazing job in the light of such tremendous

Again, I appreciate you guys having me on and I just tip my hat to all those out there that are getting it
done safely. We got God, y’all stay safe, stay strong. We’re all in this together and that’s the truth and
we’ll all come out of this together. We’ll all come out of this stronger than ever. Just believe, be positive,
be light and salt to the people that you come in contact with because there are a lot of people that
you’re going to come in contact with that are still going to be afraid and I think that the biggest thing we
can do is to share a kind word and a smile as much as we can and as often as we can during this

Web Based Meetings Etiquette -The Do’s and Don’ts

School Nutrition Education Program

Web Based Meetings Etiquette -The Do’s and Don’ts

USDA Professional Standards Code 3230/4140/4130


Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

We’re going to be talking about this week is virtual meetings and how to really nail a virtual one and
make it a knock out of the park success for both yourself and your team. We’re going to be really talking
about are a couple of really key areas. Some pitfalls that we see people make all the time that you might
actually not even know that you’re making and how to avoid those. Also, we’re going to be covering some
different techniques on how you can really feel confident in front of this one-eyed monster and really
conquer the video format – video meetings.

Share about what people can expect to get out of today’s meeting

The more effective we can get at it and the temperature we’re going to share today with you guys are
going to be there. It really is going to help you.

We’re all using that because I think now there’s about a half a dozen platforms for doing virtual. We’re
going to be talking about today is not going to be specific to any particular, one of those platforms or
we’re going to be talking about today are;

• Techniques that you can apply both before you jump on the meeting, to get yourself set up both
camera lighting techniques that you can utilize.
• Mental things that you can kind of take with you going into a meeting in order to get the most
out of the meeting, if you’re an attendee.
• If you’re a presenter – how to get the most out of your staff and get the most engagement and
the most takeaway because ultimately that’s what we all want.

We want an effective meeting, whether we are an attendee, we want it to be productive. The worst
thing is, and you and I were talking about this earlier, before we started this show, uh, was, you know,
having unproductive meetings and just how damaging that can actually be to both the employees and
the organization as a whole.

Well, we’ve all said in boarding meetings where we had to be there live, but when you have to take time
out of your day and you have to do something that’s unproductive at the study show that, an unproductive
meeting can actually be stressful. In this time and age, what we don’t want to do is create more stress
for our attendees.

What are some different virtual meaning etiquette things that you might actually not know that
you’re maybe breaking or making mistakes?

When you do these things, they’re pretty straight forward, but let’s talk about a couple of them. One
that I see very often is something that is actually been parodied by:

• Saturday night live
• Some other things here recently where people will get so close to the camera. It’s very easy to do
but with utilizing laptops and work from home tablets, cell phone devices being too close can
absolutely happen without even recognizing it. So, I think the first etiquette thing and the first
kind of tip to not being a distraction in your room.

Pay attention to the space in between yourself and your device that you’re working with.

Scenario; I was on a zoom meeting, not too long ago and not one that I was conducting, just one
that I was attending and a young lady had her cell phone. She was laying on the couch and had
her cell phone laying in her lap.

So, you’re looking up as you can imagine and it was 30 minutes of that. I’ve seen people that are
taking their cell phone and they’re moving it around the whole time they’re talking. And I think
that one, the big thing with camera angle is connection.

This is the way that you’re going to connect with each other. If you’re too close or you got a side shot or
you’re too high or whatever, your message that you’re trying to get across is not going to connect first of
all. As a presenter, I find that very distracting as I’m trying to impart information that I think is valuable.
Camera angle is the number one key thing. There was actually a study back in 2014 that was done that
showed that 72% of people that were a part of this particular study had self-confidence issues going into
a virtual style meeting or a video meeting.

How do we set up the perfect camera angle?

I read an article thatsaid the perfect camera angle isthe forehead, about your hairline right in here. We’ve
all seen those camera angles where you look up somebody’s nose while they’re talking, are looking down
like this.

I think that’s the happy medium. Now somebody may say, if I’m doing my cell phone or I’m doing mine,
my laptop, how am I going to set that up? Now I’ll share a little secret with you. I’ve got for a long time. I
used my webcam. I don’t mean more. I’m on my biggest laptop camera. I don’t mean more to have a
different webcam, but when I was using my camera on my PC, I’ve got a box set in under my camera that
elevates it to a level, so that it’s at a good level. It’s not sitting on my desk, looking at my notes. Is that

Last night, my wife and I had a virtual meeting with our son’s teacher. And so, we were sitting
downstairs, we were in my office area where I’ve got cameras and things of that nature.

We were sitting down, whereas a little more comfortable for her and us to sit at the kitchen table,
but we wanted that same kind of good camera. So, in order to accomplish that, we just got some
books and stacks of books on top of each other. And there’s a couple of magazines actually in the
mix as well, but just so that we can get it to that right height so that we could both be in the

It was far enough away that we were both in the shot, but it was also at that eye level so that we felt
confident going into the meeting and made a good first impression because this was actually, we’ve got a
two-and-a-half-year-old is the first time we’d actually met the teacher without masks on it.

We wanted to make a good first impression. Going back to that, feeling confident in front of the camera
comment, the first key piece is feeling like you’ve got your camera ankle down because the right camera
angle not only gives you confidence, knowing that other people are viewing you in a positive manner, but
it also gives you confidence that you’re looking your best and bringing your best to the meeting.
Wearing of Business Casual Attire in Virtual Meetings

Looking your best is a big deal. I know that’s one of the things we’re going to talk about, but I did a zoom
meeting for about 50 people, with motivational talk for a business group last week I had on a nice, clean
shirt. Like I’ve got on a day. I had a pajama bottoms and bedroom shoes.

I didn’t feel my best, even though I looked good, so I followed that ended another meeting with that and
you know what I did? I put on a nice pants, I put on some dress shoes. And even though I was sitting in a
chair talking all the time, I felt good about me.

That’s just going to be different for him, for everybody, obviously. But for me, it was important for me to
– to look my best for me so that I could be my best for them. If that makes.

It might actually not be that too different for everyone because there’s been a couple of different studies
that have actually shown that the best attire to wear for virtual meetings is business casual attire.
Business casual attire is not only the most widely accepted virtual meeting attire, according to studies,
but it is also the attire that gives you the most confidence in your appearance.

In a virtual meeting setting, you’re both comfortable, but you’re also looking professional. You’re sending
the right message to the other attendees, but you also are feeling confident and prepared to receive
information from other Incendies and the presenter, because you actually got ready for the meeting.
It is important to have a connection piece.

People are not turning the camera on. People go to meetings and they’ll have a little placeholder, an
image of themselves from 25 years ago.

That looks nothing like them anymore. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been to that. You just say
the person’s name. It’s really to have a connection piece. It’s really important if you want to actually
connect with attendees and get the most out of the meeting, you got to turn your camera on it.

I’ve done webinars where I don’t see anybody, I’m talking to a computer screen. I can’t, it’s just literally
me sitting there with a computer just. While they can be effective, it was not any fun. And I wasn’t, I didn’t,
I didn’t enjoy it at all to be perfectly honest. I’ve done meetings in the last couple of weeks where I operate
with two computer screens.

I don’t know about many people; a lot of people do. I know, particularly if they’re in their office and I,
when I did my zoom meeting in the last couple of times for these business groups, I had a, uh, I had my
presentation on one screen and I had another screen open with the gallery so I could see everybody’s

What that helps me to do is it helped me to connect with them. I could do things that were engaging with
them. I could ask them to give me a thumbs up if they understood and gave me a high five, if they liked it,
or do things like that. I think that those little things help to connect.

I think it’s very valuable to be able to see people. And what I’ve done. The last meeting, I did actually, I
asked the group, if you don’t mind, could you please mute yourself and turn your cameras off? Because
I want to see everybody smiling face because that’s how I get my energy.

And like I said, I’d say 53 people complied with that. And it was great. Now people really don’t mind it. I
think that there’s just this apprehension sometime about being on camera.

That’s a great recommendation, especially for other presenters out there, District Directors, Supervisors
that are going to be doing virtual meetings, maybe virtual manager meetings back to school meetings.

I encourage you to ask your attendees, ask your employees to turn their camera on. There’s just something
that happens. It’s so easy. I know from my experience, with just being inattentive. At big, large virtual
meetings. It’s so easy to do other things while you are paying attention, quote, unquote to the presenter.
That’s giving information out.

If you have your camera on – there’s almost a level of accountability at that point where you feel like the
other person’s watching you. And if you’re not looking at them and you’re not paying attention, they’re
going to know.

If you want to get the most out of a meeting from an attendee standpoint, turn the camera on. Just be
accountable to the meeting, get the most out of the meeting and walk away. No one, like we mentioned
at the beginning wants wasted time and multitasking. We’ve talked about this before.

There is no such thing as multitasking. This is statistically impossible that now I’ve got one of my mantras.
I say every day, four or five things I said to myself, every, this I’m going to listen to others and I’m going to
be there when I’m talking to them. And one of the things and we’ve all done this, we all have conversations
with other people.

And as we’re talking to them, maybe something’s going on behind them in the background. And you sort
of shift focus from them for just a second. They’ll kind of pick up on what they’re sending come back. It’s
so easy to miss something and not in that. It takes time. I think that the multitasking thing is such a
misnomer, because what it really is, is we’re not multi-taskers, some of us are just better jugglers than up
because you can’t hold, you can only hold a single thought in your mind at a time.

So, if you’re watching a presentation and then you go on over here and you’re doing something on your
pad or something, and you’re like, You’re, you’re missing things. And if you’re in a work environment
where you’re at a staff meeting, that can mean you could really miss some pretty valuable information
that could possibly either cost you money or money, maybe cause you a little bit of a problem.

You also run into the potential issue when you have people that are trying to multitask where you’ll have
some people that receive the information and understand what you’re talking about, and they’re going
to take it into the workplace and apply it. And then you have other people, and we’ve all had thisin person
meetings where you tell the exact same thing to a group of 10 people and somehow.

Five of them understand exactly what you said and the other five it’s like, you never said anything at all.
And the same thing happens in a virtual meeting setting. And that is a lot of times can be avoided with
the elimination of the ability to do those multitasking things like go take care of your kids, take your dog
for a walk while the meeting’s going on.

You’re technically attending the meeting, but you’re not mentally attending the meeting. You may be
logged in, but you’re not actually there. One of the things I’d recommend to people to go up. I see in the
business or that kind of environment, record your zoom meetings.

Keeping on Track by Recording Zoom Meetings

It’s a simple thing to do. It’s just a button you push on most of the time apps and recorded, and that way
two things happen. You got the ability to go back and review for yourself. If there were questions, I
asked and you didn’t get a chance to get to them, and you want to be sure you go back and talk, I’ll have
offline conversations with those people, because we all know that zoom meetings is the way you have
question answers can turn it in, right.

Sometimes, you got to kind of keep it on track. Usually that opportunity, plus it gives your staff the
opportunity for you. How’s it. Somewhere like a Google drive or something like that. It gives them the
ability to go back.

Being prepared and getting the most out of the meeting.

One thing that I see people do oftentimes is they will be asked to join a meeting maybe by a supervisor
or a director and their mindset going into the meeting. I’m gonna log in, I’m going to put myself on
mute and I’m going to start doing something else. And I’m basically just going to show up, but they don’t
actually come prepared for the meeting.

What I mean by being prepared for the meeting is actually being mentally prepared to speak every
single meeting that you go into.

One trick that I have found extremely helpful is going into your virtual meeting with the expectation that
at any point in time, you could be asked to speak. Go into it with the mindset that some point you’re
going to get called on to read a segment for the entire class.

If it’s a regular staff meeting, or if there’s a particular kind of issue that’s going to be discussed during
that meeting. I love that what you just said, by the way, I love that. And the other thing is going in there
and ask yourself before the meeting starts to ask yourself this question and maybe write it down on a
piece of paper, as you’re, as you’re sitting there, what I want to get from this, what am I looking to get
from this today?

Taking notes to keep engaged

What is what I hope to gain? One of the things I found is – I’m a habitual note-taker. Why do I take so
many notes? Because it keeps me engaged.

It’s not that I really necessarily need to take, three pages of notes on a 25-minute sermon, but I do,
because it keeps me engaged in what what’s being said. And that’s a tip that I’ve learned. I’m a voracious
note-taker. Simply because it keeps me on what’s going on and prevents me from kind of wandering off
in the mist of the multitasking world.

Where to actually look in the meeting?

The last kind of tip that I see is a mistake that I see people make that I want to really kind of point out
before we move on. Cause I want to talk about a little bit more about what we really kind of initially kind
of started touching on, which is really building confidence and looking and feeling your best on camera.

The last thing that I want to point out though, is where to actually look in the meeting. Can I see this
mistake made so often – let’s just use zoom for instance, where you’ve got all the little boxes of people’s
faces? I see. So often that people are looking down at the actual boxes of people’s faces, but the camera
is actually.

So, it looks as though you’re not looking at the people. Now, this is going to feel awkward for people. It’s
going to feel strange to actually look at the camera dot on your computer or your phone. If you have an
external camera, like a webcam, that’s set up instead of looking at the faces on your screen when you’re
speaking and when you’re actually trying to connect with the other people.

Attendance. It’s very important to look at the dot and not look at their faces. It’s very tempting to look
at the faces, but from a connection standpoint, you want to look right at the camera whenever you’re
actually addressing the other attendees. You know, I think that two things that help have helped me
with that is:

1. Being aware –
2. As you got a webcam, you know, you want to be careful with the position. I’ve known a lot of
people that actually put their computer screen behind their webcam so that they can, they’re
looking at the webcam, but they could still see. But when I did my presentations last week, I did
two kinds;

a. I’m standing up talking to people. That was interesting, but I could see their faces
because I had them on a screen behind the camera. I had set my computer behind the
camera. The second kind of regional places where there were slides that slides.

I wasn’t actually on camera and that helped me a lot to get that. And we connected. I have the, I can
talk, I can see the people’s faces on another string and that helped a lot. But one thing is I find people
doing a lot of times is they’re looking at themselves like I’m there and then I have a screen beside her.
Now I’m looking at myself, to make sure I look good and make sure if going my hairs in the right place. I
think that’s one of the things people do the most is they look at themselves they’re not really looking at
the other people, they’re looking at themselves to make sure that everything’s going well. And that can
be distracting.

Going into the meeting so that we don’t have that temptation to just stare at our own picture while
we’re in the middle of a virtual meeting.

Make sure that our setup is right. We’ve already talked about camera angle, but the other one is to do
what is called mirror meditation. Mirror meditation is really ultimately it boils down to preparation and
it gives you the chance to actually look at yourself before you get on the zoom call.

• Just go to the bathroom before your meeting
• Spend about five minutes looking and making sure that you are comfortable and satisfied with
your appearance before you get on the zoom call
• So instead of justshowing up with your hair allruffled up, like you just rolled out of bed and you’ve
got that t-shirt on, that’s got the random coffee stain on the color;
• Take a little bit of time to do some self-care and make sure that you are happy with your
appearance going into the meeting that will avoid the temptation.
• Help you to avoid the temptation of just staring at your picture for the first five or 10 minutes of
the call, which ultimately is keeping you from engaging and connecting with the presenter and
the material that’s being talked about.
• Sometimes you can kind of talk yourself into a state of mind and if you spend that time, when
you’re checking yourself out, make sure everything’s in the right place.
• Just remind yourself how powerful and how effective and how strong you are and how good you
look and how you’re going to do great in this meeting and how you’re going to gain something
from it. That aura comes across in this medium.
• You can do a little mental meditation before going into the meeting. It will definitely help with
confidence going in there.

Making sure you got the right lighting.

What are a couple of tips that you’ve found that have been successful for you?

From a lighting standpoint, and then I’ll share a couple of things that I’ve seen as far as what people have
done and how we can maybe have some, maybe home remedies that don’t cost any money that will get
you the right effect. Lighting might be as something that’s worth an investment in, but if you’re talking
about the zoom meeting, you just want to look here.

• You can take a lamp, a good lamp and set in front of you.
• Don’t set it up and make sure that it’s not behind you because the LIDAR drags you out. They also
make, I mean, I’ve seen them on Amazon for as little as 10 or $15, lower circle lights that are
battery operated that you just clip on the top of your computer screen and it just gives you a little
facial light. It takes the shadow off. It makes you look; it makes you look good. There are elaborate
things that you can do, but that’s my first tip is start small.
• Find something that works and don’t think you got to spend a lot of money that you can actually
take a simple lamp.
Tips with the lamp and shading and that kind of thing to make gliding effective.
• Make sure you do not have hot bulbs in your lamps before you do this, but there are ways to what
is referred to as diffusing light.
• One of the things that you want to try and avoid with lamps is that the lamps can be fluorescent
lights or they can be tungsten light, which can oftentimes give you a different shade on your skin.
So, to avoid that kind of yellowing shade or that kind of giving yourself that goal.
• To look more natural on camera, you’ll want to diffuse the light. Take a pillowcase and set it over
top of your lamp that is sitting in front of you or somewhere in between. Ideally you would want
it to be in between you and the camera, like right in front of you now, obviously out of view of
the camera, but somewhere really close to your face.
• If you’ve got a camera, that’s more of like a can light camera that you can turn and face at you set
up. Pillowcase over top of it, diffuse that light and have it pointed right at your face so that your
whole face is illuminated. That would be an ideal setup, but you can really use any type of lamp
and diffuse that light so that you avoid that kind of yellowing or Golding of the skin, which will
make you look a little more unnatural.
• Another free tip though is, and one thing that I see people do correctly is the use of the natural
light from outside window light is wonderful. You’re natural light. You’re really not going to
artificially. Even if you spend the most money in the world on artificial lights and a full studio set
up, you are not going to be able to replace or replicate.
• The power of natural sunlight. Using that to your advantage is something that is free and very
easy to accomplish, uh, just with your setup and where you are setting up your camera. I see so
many times that people will sit in front of a big window, the window being right behind them and
they’ll set the camera right in front of them thinking that well, I’ve got great, greatlines.
• The problem though, is that you are going to be very dark. It is going to wash you out because of
how bright your background is with a simple switch and just rotate your setups so that the light,
your window light is actually behind the camera facing at you. It will aluminate your face. You will
look nice and bright on camera and you won’t have to have any type of lamp or artificial light to
get the same effect.

Lighting is very important. A good light will make you feel calmer. It’s just a fact, having poor lights, having
shades on your face where you’re going into that meeting and you look good in the bathroom where
you’ve got great lighting, and then you sit down in a dark room and you’ve got this, poorly lit area
You’re not going to look the same as you looked in the, in the bathroom when you did shoot in the
mirror, when you did your mirror meditation. So, make sure that that lighting is right and you’ll feel a
plus going into your next meeting.

Virtual Backgrounds

I see people, they got stars and the moon and they got the golden gate bridge. They got ocean behind
them. And I find that distracting and I find that I read, and then you told me and shared an article with me
that said, most people find that distracting.

If you’re an attendee, I would encourage you not to do that. If you’re a presenter, I would absolutely
encourage you not to do that because you don’t want the audience focused on your message and what
you’re telling them, although what would the information you’re sharing and not the ocean breeze and
the Palm tree flowing in the background.

There are a lot of opinions that are formulated about your choice of backgrounds, whether you like it or
not, you could feel like your virtual background is a really classy and, just an inappropriate background,
but you might have an attendee that does not feel the same way.

In some situations, it might even be offended by something that you’ve chosen and I’ve sat on zoom
calls. And this wasn’t offensive necessarily, but I’ve sat on zoom calls where people had custom virtual
backgrounds that they had created. And it was one, one person had a unicorn and a rainbow over their
head and like a shooting star.

And it was just very distracting. It honestly took my attention. More towards where did they get this
background and what all is in this background, because it’s so complex to away from who was actually
speaking and what they were speaking about. So, avoid being a distraction with your background and
the best way to do that is have a very simple, elegant background.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fancy background. That’s the other thing, make it something natural
in your home, plain wall, bookcase, bookshelf, a picture like you’ve got right now with some pictures on
the background, a couple of books – that’s a really clean background that is going to be very low
distraction for people.

Set Area for Virtual Meetings

That’s one of the things that I think is very important about assuming meeting is you have a set area. I
have a set area where I do my meetings. I sort of keep everything the same. And I, and so when I have to
do a meeting or do a conference call or do a zoom, there’s no stress and where I’m going to be.

That’s one of the things I’ll recommend to you guys is that I, everybody listening is that no, pick a place
and just do it at the same place. You have discipline. If it’s your bookshelves and you’re in your office, just
pick the same place. That way. There’s no stress.

As to how things are going to look, there’s no stress is that, is everything going to be, okay? Is everything
going to be a place? Because now, we live in a stressful time and, and zoom me. These can be stressful,
especially if you’re not comfortable with it. So, I compound that with, with a bad lighting or inconsistent
background or something that you feel like you got to set everything up to make your eye.

What are your presentation tips that would be more geared towards individuals that are going to be
presenting to employees or to a group of people?

• Whether it be slide, construction, mental aspects, but just some different words of wisdom that
you would impart on a presenter that has an upcoming version.
• Keep your slides simple, keep a common theme. Do your slides. If you’ve ever seen me speak my
slides or with black letters. That’s because I don’t want the audience to focus on. I’m trying to
figure out what what’s going on with my slide. I keep my slides very simple.
• Now I’m not saying that you can’t have some kind of theme to your slides, but make it something
simple. Now, make it something simple. That’s not going to be distracting to your message. No
one thought per slide. That’s been my motto for as long as I’ve been speaking. You know, if you
need, you see me talk, you’ll see a slide that will pop up.
• Fascination pops up on the screen. That’s what I talk about now. One thing about doing
presentations online is this. If you’re not a prisoner. You get really got two choices.
There are two paths;
• Put a couple of information on a slide and then, they’re reading mechanically, reading the slide.
What I learned that I actually did this in a meeting, I had slides on the screen, so they couldn’t see
me. I had them written in a screen. But I didn’t read the script. I laid it in front of me so I could
follow it. So, it could be natural in the way I was talking. You can either, you can either read it or
you cannot read it, but if you’re going to read it, you want to have it on, you don’t have simple
slides and have them dominate the screen.
• Pop up blank slots because I want people to get a chance to absorb what I just said. Now I have a
blank slide and then the next slide I’ll have the next thought. So don’t be afraid of that, because
that that’s going to be your point.

Where are you going to let your audience sort of kind of let what you just said, sink in? If you’re going to
be onscreen, if you’re going to be standing in front of a camera talking or sitting in front of the camera,
focused on camera. See that person that I’m like, I still see my family on the other side of the camera. So,
it makes it so much easier for me to try to connect with that person. You’re not talking to a group of
people you’re talking to one person is looking at you. There may be 51. Person’s looking at you, but then
you’re talking to one person.

You want to be sure you connect with that one person. It isso important to be prepared. It doesn’tmean
you have to be a speaker when you can have, you can have notes and you can, as you’re reading, you can
go over things, but don’t make bullet point things out.

If there’s things you want to talk about. If you’re reading the new USDA regulation to your staff and you
want to be sure. Well, then maybe you do want to read that word for word, but if you’re talking about the
importance of customer service or serving kids with a smile or being nice to people are, you know, the
new procedure at wherever you’re at whatever business or for your school or whatever, be prepared to
talk about that in a conversational manner.

Connection is key in this medium – more key than ever and the way you connect this by doing the
fixture positive.

I really feel like that connection piece, coming prepared, and talking from your heart – is really where you
have that connection because you can send out a memo, people can read the information for themselves.

They’re not sitting on a zoom call to listen to your read a memo. You could send that out and ask
everyone a couple of questions about what you send them and get the exact same accomplishment and
save everyone the hour long zoom meeting. If you’re planning on just reading the info, what they’re
there on that zoom call to do is to connect to feel.

• We are all together and that you are speaking directly to them because they are just sitting
there listening to you, but every single person sitting there is in a room just by themselves. And
they feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation with the other person at the end of that
• Speak naturally, you wouldn’t have you. And I wouldn’t sit down in a room and me pull out a
piece of paper and just start reading. You wouldn’t have a one-on-one meeting in person and
just read a piece of paper to that individual.
• We all realize we’re in this together and we’re all in the same boat. We’re just in different
• Start off with joke story something to really draw people in, get their attention, and then you
move into it. And the story doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re actually going to be
talking about.
• Icebreaker to get everyone tuned in and connected. And then you go into the material you
want them to receive.

Any parting words, wisdom, advice?

This sums up a lot of people’s attitudes about zooms and being in front of the camera. It says courage is
being scared of them, but silent that be anyway.

I liked being in front of people. I liked talking to groups. I hated this immediately, but I realized that out if
I was going to be able to connect and communicate and still do what I love.

Touching people with information that I had to get used to it. I’ve watched a lot of people blossom at
doing this, and I just encourage you just to do it, just like the Nike thing.

Just do it and you’ll get used to it. And I promise, and you’ll probably find that you might actually
enjoy it.

A New Era for School Nutrition Education

School Nutrition Education Program

A New Era for School Nutrition Education

USDA Professional Standards Code 2640/3230/4120/4140


Bart Christian- who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

Jocelyn Karbo- NSLP Content Specialist

What are a couple of key components of training that school food service programs should consider for
back-to-school this year?

Well first, I don’t think I had a chance to thank you guys. So, thank you for having me on today. I’m so
happy to share about training. Ultimately, we had to switch our way of delivering training in a matter of
weeks. So, we usually have 5,6, 700 people come to our conference at the beginning of the summer, and
we had to switch to an online platform. We learned a lot and I hope I can at least help share a couple of
those things with you today.

• First of all, we have to remember all the things that are changing around us, rules, regulations,
this, that, and the other. Training is the same, whether we’re training in-person face-to-face or
remotely, it’s the same concept.
• You have to know your audience, get to know who they are, what do they need, where are they
coming from, what kind of person they are, what do they have available to them?
• I’ll talk a little bit more about that one in a minute, but also playing an engaging experience. We
have all set-on training, in-person and virtual, and when they’re not engaging, we get nothing
from them.
• And then last, make sure that our folks can apply the knowledge to their job. So, I’m going to dive
into those a little bit deeper, but I want to make a point of virtual training versus online training.
Virtual training is typically a training that has a person live presenting. We’re doing virtual training.
We might be recording it as a webinar, but we are facilitating it live.
• Online training is on demand. Online on demand, meaning I could wake up at four o’clock in the
morning, get on, take an online class. It’s self-paced for the participant and they are doing the
training on their own.
• They can go start to finish without interacting with an instructor or a facilitator at all. When we’re
looking at those two words, that’s kind of how we distinguish between virtual and online. Our
audience is special and specific. We have to know; do they have internet access? Do they have a
computer? Are they going to be taking their training on their cell phones, because when it’s really
small, they’re not going to see handouts very well.
• Over-communicate. Help them feel comfortable with this new environment. Send them how-to
videos or maybe a user guide to the platform you’re going to use in advance, so they can feel
comfortable with; where are we going? What are we doing? Where do I click? What should I do?
What time is it being held? So over communicate those things.
• That’s another benefit of the online piece. You can give them all of that in advance. You don’t
have to take training time to do that. You can give it to them before you even start.
• Then consider recording a virtual welcome. You don’t have to do a welcome face-to-face, you
could record that in advance. It could be from your superintendent, or maybe your child nutrition
director, a special guest speaker, the mayor, anyone who might be able to welcome them back to
the school year, sounds like a really fun opportunity you could do in advance.
• You could also tailor those to your individual audiences, your elementary schools, your middle
schools and your face schools. Knowing your audience is still whether you’re virtual or face-toface.
• Claiming that engaging experience, making sure that you’re thinking about activities. If we’re faceto-face, we’re going to do a tabletop activity. Well, some virtual platforms, you can break folks
into breakout sessions, so they could still have that opportunity build in polls, quizzes, Q and A,
let them utilize what it would run them for the technology to help it stay engaging. I always
prerecorded the main thing, keeping the main thing going to be the same, whether I say it in
person or I record it in advance.
• I always write a script, and make sure I have every detail that I want them to capture, and I record
that in advance. The cool thing is that when I’m playing, I can answer the Q and A in the chat at
the same time, because it’s already being recorded and they’re just watching the recording. They
don’t know what’s recorded. They think I’m presenting right in front of them. That’s definitely a
tip that I would definitely share.
• Have a co host. Do not pretend that you can manage all of the things by yourself. There’s screens,
there’s speakers, there’s people like doing their hair or eating something. You need a friend who
commutes with them, turns their video off, and answers questions for you. You also want to give
folks a phone number. If they’re having a problem, they don’t want to go through some guide to
figure out how to get their sound working. Have a co host, have them help you with attendance.
All those things behind the scenes, you do not have to do it yourself.
• It’s gotta be useful. It’s not knowledge. It’s kinda like food, right? It’s not nutrition until it’s in their
body. Well, it’s not as successful training unless they’re applying that knowledge to their job. So,
we really want to make sure that what we’re providing for training, they can take back and use.

But during your training, you want them to practice a little piece of that, so they build the
confidence to be able to implement it on the job. That’s really knowing your audience again, back
to the first one.

What type of advice can you give to folks that might not feel comfortable behind or in front of a camera,
and maybe don’t feel comfortable doing all of these virtual meetings? What would you recommend to
them to really help them to gain that confidence, so that they can actually properly convey the
important information that they need to get to their employees without forgetting something or
stressing out and just missing the mark because of the structure of the meeting that they’re trying to

● Just practice, start with your pre-meetings. We’re going to have this conference. So, the meeting
that I’m going to have with my team is going to be on the platform that we’re going to deliver for
the conference itself.
● I’ll build a poll and I’ll have them respond to it. We went through all the settings together because
we wanted to make sure that if someone took a session with me or with one of my colleagues,
that it looked and felt the same. We were using the same tools and mechanisms.
● So, I say, just start, play with it, practice it. There’s so many YouTube videos. There’s so many
different how-to’s or helps, but you really don’t learn it for me anyway, until I do it.
● Those meetings, we have a run through, a practice. We don’t talk about everything that we’re
going to say during the session, but you still have to plan. As you’re building your agenda, you
realize, it’s going to take 15 to 20 seconds of a delay in order for my audience to hear the question
and then respond to the poll. So, I didn’t build in that buffer time the first time and I got to the
end, and I’m like, how am I running out of time? Because I didn’t actually do all of the questions
in the poll during my run-through.
● I say, just start, trust your team, ask them; has anybody used this? My other tip would be to talk
to your technology department. We had people at a help desk as our backup who were familiar
with the platform, but what are they using for their meetings? What are the teachers using? What
platform are they using? Is it my first off team? Is it zoom? Is it go-to-meetings because they’re
doing the same things, they might be able to sit in or be your co host for the first time. I’ve had
that question too. I’m from a small district. I’m a one man show. I don’t have one co host. Call me,
there’s people who will be willing to help you, at least walk through it the first time. So just start.
Well, I know for me, because I’ve been working on a lot. They’ve been developing some things, working
on things, because virtual training is going to be big. Actually, the interesting thing is I actually do have
three districts. I’m going to speak out, live over the next two weeks. But they’re going to be broken into
small groups. So instead of doing one big group, I’m going to do three small groups over the course of the

But as far as my tip for people as kind of a one man show in a lot of ways on different things, I use
PowerPoint a lot. I develop my presentation. I have a secondary monitor, so that I can have my camera, I
can see the stuff, but then I have a secondary monitor, so I can follow my PowerPoint. It’s very different
when you step, I thought I’m blessed in that. I thought I’m pretty good in front of a big group, but when
it’s just me and this one-eyed monster here, and you’ve got to talk to it and there’s nobody else here,
practices everything because it takes practice to get engaging and not a mechanical in what you’re doing,
and I think that your practice is everything. And there are a lot of districts out there that are one-man
shows or one-woman shows that they may find themselves having to kind of do-that, because there’s only
one Jocelyn, you can’t help everybody. So, that practice is going to be the key and getting for me with the

Which one of the tools have you found to be the simplest to work with, Zoom, Go-to-meeting, Microsoft
teams, which have you found to be the most user-friendly simplest to work with?
We use zoom a lot, but again, it’s because that’s what my technology department said, we have a pro
account and we’re using zoom for our other programs in the building. I think that’s where you have to
start because when others are using it, it’s supported and then they have more information, they’re better
able to equip and help you with that.

Start there, but I’ve used all of them now at this point; Go-to-Meetings, Microsoft teams, but Microsoft
teams are a lot easier if everyone’s within the network, but a lot of my school districts aren’t on Microsoft
teams. It’s a whole different ball game, I think they’re all similar.

I think the key is what do you want out of the platform? You have to start with, do I want my participants
to be able to ask me questions during the session, okay, which ones do that? Do I want to share a
document during the session? Originally, a lot of them didn’t have the ability for you to upload or share a
document. You had to do it offline. Well, now you have it, but you can add on these things, so figure out
what you want the session to include and how you want to interact with your audience. That will help
your kind of we-out-the-ones that aren’t going to work for you.
What do you find to be the most successful link for a virtual or online training in the industry that we’re

Really good question, because I was caught off guard by this one as well. So, same thing I started with my
team. What do you all suggest? We have an internal team that works with teachers and principals and
superintendents, and they’re developing training for their audiences, and they said from their expertise,
their side of things, development, what can the human mind handle? They said, take your training. So,
whatever it is, six-hour face-to-face cuts it in half. That’s three hours, now cut it in half again. So, the
maximum amount of time that I should spend on that six-hour content face-to-face should be 90 minutes
virtual. How is that even possible? It was definitely a switch in mentality, but remember what I said earlier,
they can get a lot of the content in advance.

● You can send them a prerecorded video; you can send them things to get them all on the same
page. So, when you are face-to-face, you can get to the nitty gritty, meaty stuff of scenarios and
discussion. You don’t need to cover the basic stuff because they’ve already either received that
or you can do it in a series.
● So, the first one would be kind of an intro 101, and then you could break it up into 90-minute
chunks, and I heard this for face-to-face to you, especially with activities, our mind can’t handle
what our seat can’t take.
• If you are sitting, sitting, sitting, it’s not getting absorbed in your mind, because you’re just
thinking about, “Oh, I should’ve gone to the restroom”, “I have all these other things to do that
sort of thing”. So, take your tape content, cut in half, cut in half again, and that should be your
What type of info specifically do you suggest asking your employees to give you feedback on, and what
do you recommend doing with that information after the meeting?
I’ve been working the last year plus on food production records. Same concept, why do we look back at a
food production record to play in what we’re doing in the future? So, if we’re never looking at the data
that we’re collecting during a past training, we’re just taking a shot in the dark for what we’re planning for
a future training.
• If we collect none of this training, even throughout the training, we can gauge where the audience
is and tailor what we’re doing in that next 15-minute chunk.
• If we do our end of course evaluation, which we’re required to do, we have to prove that learning
occurs in our sessions. That is part of training, whether that’s a poll or a post-test or whatever, we
can take that data and say, “Okay, they’ve got down the mail pattern.” They know the mail
pattern. They’re great at the mail pattern. They’re getting a little hung up on offering versus
serving breakfast in the classroom, or they need help with that kiosk, serving the grab and go at
the kiosk.
• Now we know what we can tailor and very specifically customize our next training for. So, if we
never looked back at it, for one we’re going to lose credibility and trust with their audience,
because they’re going to say, “I told you that last time and you didn’t do anything about it”.
• I think it’s really important that we, A, ask, but then B, follow through on listening.
• They also might ask a specific question that they’re expecting to hear back from you on. So yes, it
creates a little bit of follow up work for us, but then we can have that one-on-one conversation
and touch base with someone so that we can clear the water quickly.
• So, I say you definitely have to calendar a debrief. For the day after, or maybe two days after, and
I do this with my whole team. We review the follow-up together. If it’s my training I do with the
co-hosts because I don’t want to miss anything.
• And then I also think it’s important that we give that feedback or the response, or we’re going to
have that in the next month’s training communication, pretty quickly after the training itself, but
you have to calendar it or you won’t have time. It’ll just sit there and then you’ll get the alert that
the recording’s going to expire. Do you want to keep it? I do download, which is another key.
• Once you are doing a virtual training, hit record, so-and-so didn’t meet, make it to the meeting.
You can send it to them, orientation, you can give it to folks down the line. They all get the same

How do you feel about that as far as being a tracking component of being something to verify that the
learning has actually occurred?

So again, it’s going to fall back on what your district hasfor their own professional standards, policies, and
procedures. For the state level, we recognize it as long as they document it, if they don’t document it, it
didn’t happen. How they document it is how it happened. I would still need a way for them to sign an
attendance log, some way to initial or verify. Yes, I’m this person, and I did this training and then we have
professional standards once they fill out our evaluation. After the fact, then they can download their
certificate from our website, others just give it to them locally. So, it all falls back on how you’re
documenting it, but yes, it counts. They were there. They did it, but they have to document it according
to what their local and state regulations have.

What types of training tools and ongoing resources are available for folks that might be working strictly
off of Wi-Fi in their home?

Yeah, it’s a good question. I have several that we use in our area locally, but again I would just ask the
district, what are they using? A lot of things are compatible with mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktops,
they’re all pretty much converting to some point to be usable on any of those.

• Regardless, I think you just keep making it available. The software itself should be able to meet
the need.
• We’ve used Google surveys, forms, We have Typeform, Menti-meter, Kahoot. There’s so many
that are being developed. The apps that are out there, you see more and more being developed
all the time.
• I even ask your group, ask your audience, ask your team; What have you used? What do you like?

What should we try?

What other types of training are available online that would be appropriate for a school nutrition
professional that would maybe spice things up, give a little bit of variety outside of the ICN, SNA, and
some of the state department training that are provided?

Just like apps, there’s so many avenues for training. I can get so down a rabbit trail of this, to that, to the
next, to a mean to a video, to a YouTube. I have to reel myself back and say, what am I trying to find?

What am I looking for? Is it motivational? Is it safety and sanitation? Is it health and wellness? Like what
is the goal that I’m trying to look for?

● And then actually what I start with is my social network of my colleagues, my Instagram, Facebook,
all of my social networks, and I asked that group first, “Hey, I’m looking for a motivational
something to start back to school, or I’m looking for a safety and sanitation tool that I can share.”
That’s professionally put together to show happy wear face masks.
● So, I start with that group on the first day and I look at it, it’s kind of like when someone posts,
what books are you reading or any good books lately? It narrows down all of those things to like
a few that I can research because I don’t have time to find all of the new ones or all of the latest
and greatest, but I trust my group. I trust my network, my fellow dietician friends, my fellow child
nutrition friends. I started there honestly.

Are there any other groups that people should be aware of to really tap into other people’s expertise
and the resources that other districts might have available?

Are you familiar with the school meals that rocks the tips page? I know that Hayes is pretty active there.
Dieticians of course, I’m in the school nutrition practice group with the academy of nutrition dietetics, and
they have a whole another platform that they have Q and A and questions and all of that sort of thing.
They’re just dieticians that work in schools and there’s nearly 800 of them across the country. They’re very
helpful in that world, and that’s my world really.

● I am attending a Bob pike training coming up in the next couple of weeks. So that’s all on virtual
training and we kind of did a co-operative to join. It’s not content specific, It’s the education world
of delivering material online or virtually.
● The other thing is, this is funny. I was meeting with the child nutrition director cohort last week
and they are looking for ways to pay their staff when they may have less meals to prepare. What
are we going to pay them to do? How are we going to make use of that time? And training is one
way that you can do that, and there’s so many resources out there for them to do that.
● So, don’t forget about training. If there’s a downturn in participation or you have people who have
another hour, I think that their end of their day, or they’ve prepped everything, make a training
plan as a backup for them to have ready that they can use as a checklist to keep them fully trained
on your staff.

Do you see the old version model of training that we became so accustomed to being in person and
group style meetings, do you see us ever going back to something like that, or do you think that the
future is really developing and finding these online training resources for a new era of training?

Absolutely, we will go back for some skills training. You cannot teach knife skills without putting a knife in
someone’s hand and coaching them on how to properly cut onions. Those skills, hands-on coaching
scenarios that you need to do give immediate feedback on, they are going to return, they might be in
smaller groups. One of my directors is going to go to each kitchen individually to do back to school training
this year. What a lovely idea. They’re going to go to their kitchen to do the training and I absolutely do
think we will go back face-to-face with those types of things. The benefit is we’re going to nail this virtual
side of things too, and we’re going to be able to do both.

We’re going to hybrid. We’re going to say, counting and claiming it can really be done online. They can
drag and drop. We can test their knowledge. Boom. When we’re face-to-face, we’re going to get some
team building hands-on, down and dirty, like nitty gritty stuff that we couldn’t achieve in that virtual world.

● So, I think it’ll start with, what can we tackle virtually. Check, check, check, and then, “Oh, what
did we kind of miss the mark on? What are we falling behind on that we need skills or hands-on
or face to face training”, and then we’ll return to that, we’ll fill in the gap there. That’s my personal
● I think that we have such a great opportunity. The people that are willing to do this is to get better
at the virtual training and get better at this face-to-face type of atmosphere and I’ll be on a
computer, because I see so many trainings in other organizations, I don’t name any, but they’re
child nutritional organizations that offer training, but there are long PowerPoint slides and there’s
no way you literally talk to, I said, thank you said in one of your answers that people tune out and
eight to 12 minutes, uh, yeah. And maybe shorter than that for some of those.
● I think that if we can get better at this, that we can tackle a lot of things virtually and have better
tools for outside of just the PowerPoint outside of just the presentations that people are used to
doing, because I think this is going to be here for at least year and maybe a year and a half. Because
live training will come back, I have no doubt that it will come back. I’ll be standing on the stage in
front of a group sooner or later again, I know that, but in the interim, I have to get better at this
new medium, which is just going to make me better and offer better tools to school nutrition
groups. And I think that’s the challenge, are you willing to really get better at it? Are you just going
to sit and read?
● Please check the dates, please make sure that the information that you’re sharing is current. If
you’re going to share a video, watch the video in its entirety. We learned so much about just
playing like Pandora. We wanted to have music going so that when our participants joined, they
would hear music and know that their audio was working.

17 Strategies for Coping with Stress in 30 Minutes or Less

17 ways to get your cortisol levels down
Stress is a sneaky thing. It can curl up inside you and grow like a Chia Pet until all the sprouts have grown out of control. Sometimes stress can manifest into physical symptoms, like temporary hives, one-day headaches, or long-term weight gain.

One simple way to deal is to let your body and mind reset. Take a nap — yep, even 10 minutes of napping can help. If you were sleepy in the first place, the lack of sleep can make it harder to manage stress.

Super quick de-stressing tips
1. Force a laugh or smile — even anticipating a laugh can boost your mood.
2. Make sure you’re not slouching, as posture can affect mood.
3. Mute all your phone notifications.
4. Give someone a hug.
5. Play a happy song, or a song that makes you happy.

But when the stress boilover happens during work, at a party, or in public, dropping everything to take a nap is definitely not a good look. And in these situations, stress can also join teams with anxiety, leaving you figuring out how to rein in both emotions.

Fortunately, there are tips and tricks that can help you get your cortisol levels down. If you need quick tips to keep your heart beating at a more manageable rate, read our ways to calm stress in five minutes or less.

If you’re noticing a bigger pattern, you might want to take a longer breather with our 30-minute tips or speak to a professional to get to the root of the problem.

Ways to calm stress in 5 minutes or less
1. Acknowledge your stress
Acknowledging your stress can really help lift the weight off your shoulders and could be the first step to asking for help.

Facing stress is an opportunity to reset your mind and take it as a chance to grow. Researchers say the brain is rewiring and trying to learn from the experience so you can handle it differently next time.

So, think about whether the stress is a buildup or related to a more long-term issue. If it’s unrelated to anything, maybe it’s a sign your mind and body need a break.

If it’s tied to a more long-term problem you can’t immediately solve, try another one of the quick relaxer tips below.

2. Chew gum
Chewing is a great form of stress reduction. If you have gum on hand, particularly scented gum, chew it for at least three minutes. One study of 101 adults found that people who chewed gum during work had a lower stress response.

But don’t chew half-heartedly! It may be useful to take out your pent-up energy on the gum. Another study found that vigorous chewing was required in order to achieve stress relief.

3. Drink stress-reducing tea
There are several supplements that can help reduce stress and anxiety, but many of these supplements may take a few weeks or months of intake before they have an effect.

However, the act of stepping away for a few minutes to make tea can be therapeutic. So why not also make a stress-relieving drink? Studies show that 1 gram of apple cider vinegarTrusted Source may take over 95 minutes to work its magic, while matcha may take up to an hour to workTrusted Source.

Although tea takes at least an hour to take effect, just stepping away can signal to your body to relax. Plus, once you get back to your desk, time may fly faster than you know it.

4. Inhale essential oils or invest in a diffuser
Inhaling essential oils may help calm the mindTrusted Source in times of stress, anxiety, and insomnia. This popular technique, also known as aromatherapy, focuses on using scents to holistically balance your physical, emotional, and psychological health.

Popular essential oils for combating stress include:

  • lavender
  • rose
  • vetiver
  • bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • frankincense
  • sandalwood
  • ylang ylang
  • orange blossom

Choose scents based on your personal preferences. For example, if the smell of peppermint reminds you of holidays at home, use peppermint.

To use essential oils for stress, apply three dropsTrusted Source onto a cotton pad and breathe it in deeply 10 times. You can also purchase a diffuser for your room or desk so that it constantly releases a calming scent.

5. Stretch at your desk
It’s incredibly important to take breaks during work, even when you feel like there’s a rush to get your task at hand done. For the times when you can’t leave your desk, you can still stretch while sitting for five minutes without intervention.

Stretching can also help with discomfort and work-related pain or injuriesTrusted Source. The simplest stretch you can do is the upper body and arm stretch. To do this:

Clasp your hands together and push upward with your palms facing the sky.

1. Stretch and hold the pose for 10 seconds.
2. Try twisting your torso left and right for 30 seconds, then repeat.
3. For a full-body stretch, check out our desk-stretch routine.

Bonus tips for stress

  • Keep a stress ball at your desk. Sometimes all you need to do is physically exert all the pent-up energy.
  • Have a tactile item for comfort. This can be a crystal or a piece of velvet.
  • Buy a massage pad for your chair. This $45 purchase is the most affordable, worth-it purchase for momentary relaxation. Sometimes stress can be a result of back strain or pain. Or your tensed muscles might be increasing your stress. A back massager with heated functionality will help you relax even more.

Ways to calm stress in 10 minutes
6. Go for a walk
Exercise or walking is a great way to manage stress. First, it lets you escape the situation. Second, exercise helps your body release endorphins, the neurotransmitters that make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Think of walking as moving meditation. A few laps around the block can help you forget previous tension and relax so you return to the situation calmer and more collected.

7. Memorize this yoga routine
Yoga isn’t only a popular exercise for all ages, but it’s also gaining traction for decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression. According to researchTrusted Source, yoga interrupts stress by producing an effect that’s opposite to your flight-or-fight response.

A simple routine can help lower your cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. One of our favorite 10-minute routines is by Tara Stiles. This routine starts off with a lot of relaxing swaying.

8. Intervene with mindfulness-based, stress-reduction techniques
Sometimes stress can cause your mind to spiral and lead you down an unnecessary rabbit hole of negative thoughts. One way of escaping that spiral is to anchor yourself to the present and focus on immediate results you can achieve.

Methods to try

  • Close your eyes and scan your body. Pay attention to the physical feelings.
  • Sit and meditate by paying attention to your breathing, sounds, sensations, and emotions. Let them pass through you.
  • Change up your movement by taking a walk or standing up.
  • Give full attention to small daily activities, like drinking water, eating, or brushing your teeth.
  • 9. Write it out
    Writing out what you’re stressed about can help you focus your thoughts on the positive or ways to tackle the negative.

    Write away the stress

  • Try the “so what?” exercise by asking yourself that question until it reveals something about yourself.
  • See if there are any exceptions to your concerns.
  • Keep a journal to track your changes and learnings.
  • Treat this method of writing it out as a way of taking notes without derailing your whole workday. Keep these notes on hand to check for patterns to see if there’s a deeper reason behind your stress.

    10. Try 4-7-8 breathing
    The 4-7-8 breathing method is a powerful trick that gives your body an extra boost of oxygen. Deep breathing is an effective way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

    To do this: Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and keep it there the whole time.

    One cycle of 4-7-8 breathing
    1. Part your lips slightly and exhale with a whooshing sound through your mouth.
    2. Close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
    3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
    4. Exhale (with a whoosh sound) for 8 seconds.
    5. Practice this mindlessly to let your brain relax.
    6. Complete this cycle for four full breaths.

    11. Try the emotional freedom technique (EFT)
    Tapping or psychological acupressure is a specific methodic sequence that involves tapping specific meridian points (areas of the body energy flows through, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) and reciting setup phrases that will help you acknowledge issues and accept yourself.

    EFT in 5 steps
    1. Identify what’s causing you stress.
    2. On a scale of 0 to 10, write down how intense the issue is (10 being the highest).
    3. Create a setup phrase that addresses your problem. For example: “Even though I’m stressed about this deadline, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
    4. Tap on the nine meridian points (eyebrow, side of eyes, under eyes, under nose, chin, start of collarbone, and under arm) seven times. Repeat the phrase with each tapping point. Do this sequence two to three times.
    5. Rate your final intensity to see if your stress level has gone down to 0. If not, repeat.

    12. Talk in third person
    Whether it’s to yourself or with a friend, talking can help tamper down your stress level. Yep, talking to yourself or about yourself in third person is a form of exerting self-control over negative emotions.

    According to researchers, “Referring to yourself in the third person leads people to think about themselves more similar to how they think about others.”

    Doing this can help you distance yourself from the experience or situation. The best part, though? It requires less effort.

    Ways to calm stress in 30 minutes
    13. Exercise, but make it daily
    We mentioned walking earlier, but that was just a quick break. Routine exercise can help improve the way your body uses oxygen and helps you cope with stressful situations. The benefits of working out build up over time. You may be able to feel the difference as you stick to your routine.

    It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

    14. Take a hot bath
    The answer to washing away a day of stress may be in your bathroom. Hot water is known to help release endorphins and increase blood flow to the skin. Warm baths can also:

    improve breathing

  • reduce risk of heart attack
  • lower blood pressure
  • burn calories
  • For folks living with chronic pain, hot baths can also help keep muscles loose and reduce flare-ups.
  • 15. Clean your room, desk, or dishes
    Besides removing clutter and giving you relief from a crowded space, cleaning is an effective mindfulness practice. One study found that students who washed dishes had greater states of mindfulness and positive moods.

    If you don’t have time to clean thoroughly, take this opportunity to organize items or tackle one cleaning task at a time. For example, if you have a load of laundry, use each washing and drying load to time your breaks.

    16. Talk it out or reach out to friends
    Social support is an extremely effective way to relieve stress. Ask a friend or co-worker to be a sounding board as you talk out your issues.

    Sometimes the case with stressful situations is that you’re trying to find a problem or a connection when there isn’t one. An outsider’s perspective may help you see that more clearly.

    If you do reach out to a friend, be sure to express your thanks and return the favor when they ask!

    17. Foam roll out the tension
    Sometimes stress becomes physical: It can cause your muscles to knot up. These knots can develop in very specific places that build up over time, which you can’t easily unwind via exercise or self-massage. That’s where foam rolling steps in.

    Foam rolling adds pressure to those trigger points, signaling your body to increase blood flow to that area and for your muscle to relax. A full-body routine can help promote relaxation the way getting a massage will.

    Take a closer look at your stress
    Invisible stress is real, and it can build up into chronic stress. Sometimes we don’t notice it because it’s been there the whole time, like a freckle or mole. However, changing freckles or moles are something you want to take the time to check out, right? Stress is the same.

    If you notice a change in your patience or find yourself more easily triggered by slight noises or simple mistakes, consider whether you need to take a break and calm your mind, or if there’s something bigger at play. Chronic stress can increase your risk for other mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.

    If these strategies aren’t giving you tools to cope, try seeking help from a professional.

The value of having a coach or mentor

If your name is God then you don’t need a mentor or a coach. For everyone else, let’s explore the value of having one.

First some definitions. A “coach” operates with an organizational focus and is often assigned to you. Coaches have a vested interest in seeing you improve specific skills and interpersonal relationships that pertain to your job and how it impacts your company’s bottom line. A coach’s conversations with you tend to be more directive because the task of a coach is to help you achieve explicit workplace objectives and goals.

On the other hand, a “mentor” is someone whom you select to help you grow in various aspects of your life, with an agenda set by you. The purpose of a mentor is to help you where you want the help. In this role, a mentor acts more as a concerned questioner, facilitating your discovery of how you can improve upon the various issues you want to address.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably (which sometimes causes some misunderstandings), you can see there is a difference between coaches and mentors. One is selected by you to help you focus on your individual growth, the other is someone at work who is charged with helping you meet organizational goals. Unfortunately, many people today call themselves coaches when in fact they are serving in the role of mentor (and even I am guilty of that).

In reality, it probably doesn’t matter which term you use, so long as you have a clear understanding of the purpose of the relationship. But, as I said, a lack of clarification can cause misunderstandings.

For example, a colleague and I were once asked to meet with the leadership team of a high-profile company that manufactures golfing equipment. They wanted some outside help to relieve tension on their leadership team. At the initial meeting, a senior vice president arrogantly sat back and challenged us with “So – what do you guys know about golf clubs?”

Without batting an eye, my colleague responded: “Nothing. And we don’t want to know anything about golf clubs. We’re experts in workplace relationships.”

Even recently, someone came to me after opening her own business (for privacy’s sake, let’s say she sells widgets), and a relative of hers questioned her action, saying “what does he know about widgets?”

Within these examples, you can see the misunderstandings that arise. But either way, let’s examine just a few of the benefits of having someone as a confidant, be it a mentor or a coach.

1. You’ll gain clarity because you’re often too close to a situation to see it clearly. Stated another way, it’s pretty hard to see your nose, isn’t it? It is literally too close to your eyes, and you just can’t see it very well. Having another person sharing his or her insights about your situation gives you an outside perspective on how to improve. If you are motivated to make improvements, you’ll place a lot of value on that person’s perspective.

2. You’ll have accountability. Without accountability we usually end up with a lot of blame or a lot of excuses as to why things don’t get done. Sometimes both. Because it’s difficult to be accountable to yourself (not impossible, but quite difficult), having someone to whom you’re accountable helps you stay on track with those non-urgent but important actions which lead to personal and professional growth.

3. Coaching and mentoring is custom tailored to you. You can attend all the workshops and read all the books you want, but they will forever be delivered to a bell curve of people, not specifically to you. In coaching and mentoring relationships, everything is customized to meet your individual needs. You’ll have to become vulnerable to some degree and acknowledge your human frailty, but a good mentor or coach is looking for ways you can capitalize on your strengths while compensating for your weaknesses. That just can’t happen in a workshop the same way it can during a one-on-one.

It doesn’t matter whether you decide that a coach or a mentor is better for you, but I recommend you get one. Even after 22 years performing the role myself, I follow my own advice. I have a “coach/mentor” to whom I remain accountable for my personal & professional development. For the record, I’m not fishing for more coaching clients. I just believe that unless you’re God, everyone has room to grow.

As a final word, be sure that whoever you select as a mentor/coach is qualified for the job. This field does not require a license, so anyone can say they’re a coach. Also make sure you don’t get forced into any long-term contract, and be confident that whoever you work with maintains your best interests at heart. Investing in yourself always brings worthwhile returns.

Budgeting, Training and the Future of Serving

Budgeting, Training and the Future of Serving
With Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry, and Lindsay Aguilar, (Registered Dietitian and certified School Nutrition Specialist), the Administrative Dietitian for the Tucson Unified School District Food Services Department.


School Nutrition Education Program
Budgeting, Training and the Future of Serving
USDA Professional Standards Code 3330/4120/4130/4150/4160


Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

Lindsay Aguilar, (Registered Dietitian and certified School Nutrition Specialist) is the Administrative
Dietitian for the Tucson Unified School District Food Services Department. Lindsay has worked at TUSD
for 15 years where she coordinates the operations of the various federal meal programs throughout the
district and nutrition support services. Lindsay has a passion for child nutrition and the importance of
the role of nutrition in education. Lindsay is an active member of the School Nutrition Association and is
on the executive board for the state association.

How are meals delivered during this time of the pandemic at Tucson Unified?

On March 25th, we started a grab and go meals with 12 bus routes. We had 114 bus stops across our
district. Our district is 225 square miles so we covered pretty much the majority of the Tucson area.
We did breakfast and lunch at one time. Our buses were out between 10 and about one 30 every day.
Actually, today is our last day of those bus routes for the school closure. We served just over 330,000
meals over the last two months to our community and then we’re starting back up on Tuesday with a
revised summer bus route.

What types of variety of meals and items are you serving in those grabs and go lunches?

We have been utilizing all pre-packaged items. Fortunately for us at TUSD, we had incorporated a 50- 50
model over the past two years so we’re doing half of our entree house-made assembled items that
we’re making in our kitchens and then we have incorporated pre-packaged items.

We were fortunate that we had quite an inventory. We have a centralized warehouse, so we have been
able to run our program off of the five-week inventory that we had coming into the school closure. We
weren’t in the situation that I know a lot of districts across the country really had challenges getting prepackaged items.

Some of the meal items that we served were:

– bean and cheese burritos
– corn dogs
– cheeseburger
– sliders
– grilled cheese

For breakfast items we’ve had:

– cereal and bagels
– pancakes
– French toast
– fruit cups
– fruit and vegetable juice

What are the issues that you faced while delivering the lunches and what was your alternative plan to get around with it?

We’ve had issues with shelf stable milk. We had a large inventory of that but it ran out on the first
month so we had to transition to regular fluid milk. Hand sanitizers for buses has been a challenge too
so we had to get creative with that and kind of figure out an alternative plan for that.

What is the response of the parents to the fact that you’re bringing food to kids and the type of food
they are receiving?

It actually has been overwhelmingly positive. The kids are making cards and pictures. They draw chalk
on the bus stops and sidewalks to thank us and hanging signs. We even had one family that made Tshirts for the staff on the bus that said “TUSD United”

I think the other factor is just the people are coming together and collaborating with our transportation
department and our school safety. We have school safety officers and crossing guards that have been
out at our bus stops. So just working together with those departments in such a positive way and
impacting our students and community has been my favorite part. It has been really nice for our staff as
well to get the positive recognition that they often, unfortunately don’t receive.

We are going to be elevated as an industry to such a high level in the district, because we’ve really
demonstrated that the food service workers are essential because they’re the ones who have had to go
to work.

That school lunch often has those misconceptions parents being exposed to the food has also been a
really positive kind of unintended consequence from this whole thing. Every day they take their kids to
the meal stops and they’ve been actually able to see the food they are getting. The food quality and just
being able to see the types of items that we offer to their kids has been a really nice impact for
everybody to experience.

What exactly are you doing with your staff to keep them engaged and keep them motivated on a on a
daily basis?

We have just over 200 site employees in our school kitchen. We obviously didn’t need all 200 on the bus
routes and in our central kitchen facility so we did a weekly rotation. We had groups of people assigned
to our kitchen to do our meal bag assembly. Then we had the groups of staff assigned to the buses for
the meal distribution. Then we had group of staff rotating to work from home.

We utilize this time to really educate and train our employees. The School Food Handler program has
been amazing to our staff to utilize during this time and keep them working and having meaningful work
and they did a lot of professional development training.

We also utilize some other areas too. The Institute of child nutrition was something I assigned staff from
home just which they actually got a lot of feedback that they really enjoyed. Learning about the history
of the National School Lunch Program and then our district actually has a historical section on their

I had them review all the history of TUSD and I was surprised that a lot of our staff reached out to me
just saying that they really enjoy learning about the history of the district and they do a really good job
with some stories and archives and stuff like that.

It’s been a combination of food safety training, nutrition education, and utilizing our state department
website as well for some of their trainings on the meal pattern. So, I think, a lot of people have provided
some feedback to me that they actually enjoy being able to have time to expand their knowledge in all
of these areas and take time to do the trainings and do all the trainings on school food handler where
we had them complete every single training that was on the website.

Thank you all for having those great resources available for us to use.

Advantages training your employees during the pandemic:

– Your staff is going to come back more knowledgeable and educated.
– They are going to feel better about themselves and the job they do.
– They are getting more exposed to areas they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn
– It has given the staff a lot more confidence in technology.

What type of other technology related tools have you been implementing over the past couple of

– Powerpoint Presentations
– Zoom
– Office 365

In the past years, pre COVID and everything, did you all do any type of professional development day to start the year off for new hires and what do you anticipate for the future for getting those new
hires up to speed on where they need to be to start the year off?

Normally in the past, they would go through the district onboarding process. So that will stay the same,
but there is some training that they receive at the district level. Once they start with us, the new hire
training was just all in the kitchens.

We had a training guide that was completed for staff to go over certain areas and sign-off. So, I think
from this and the feedback that we’re getting from our staff, looking at the training guides, we’ll
definitely look to incorporate some more interactive and some technology pieces.

I think that videos are something that I’m definitely interested in. Either putting together some trainings
that include more realistic videos of our kitchen set up is and those areas to make it a more effective
piece for our new hires because we don’t have the capacity to bring them all in at one time. We were
hiring so many people throughout the year and they all started at different times. So we rely on our sites
to complete that training an utilizing some of the technology for that is definitely something that we’re 6
planning to incorporate.

What do you see happening for those large beginning of the year meeting for either managers or
segments of the team, or maybe the whole team?

I do definitely think there’s going to be some changes to our typical bringing everybody in and large
groups, especially for the start the school. We need to keep groups to 10 and under, and those things at
this moment in time, but even moving beyond that, I do think that from this whole experience, we’ve
definitely captured that you can still have effective meetings and interactions.

I do think it is important and our staff really loves to be around each other. So, I think that human
contact is definitely needed. But I do think that we can do some hybrids and smaller groups and utilize
the technology to have more consistent interaction with our employees instead of waiting to do it once
every quarter, we could set up things more consistently.

I definitely think this is going to change our staff meetings and trainings and in-services moving forward
for sure and across our district as well. I think it’s something that it’s going to be forever changed from
this entire experience. I also think that it’s going to be okay and positive things are going to come out of
this. I think we’ll all be stronger and have even better and more efficient programs because of things
that we’re going to have to do.

This is also going to allow us to be more connected with our staff much more consistently because now
we’ve got ways that we can utilize that can keep them feeling more supported and connected with our
central office.

What types of things are you considering this year when you’re looking at budgeting for this upcoming year?

I think at this point, the priority for us right now is just devising our reopening plans.
I’m working on kind of the four phases, we’re working on traditional students coming back a hybrid
model of some in their schools, some online. Preparing if, hope to God, we don’t have to go back to
schools being closed in online only. Then also the fourth option, because of some of the protocols and
changes that our district is going to have to make potentially that some kids would be scheduled in the
school building on certain days and at home others.

So, we have these kind of four phases that we’re working on reopening plans for. I think that the
challenging part and my concern of course is, what is this going to do to our participation levels? And if
we do have a percentage or population of our students that are going to be, online from home, how can
we still encapsulate providing meals to those students?

Of course, there would have to be regulation changes at the USDA level and our state level and I think
not just for food service but for education in general. I think participation levels are certainly definitely a
priority concern and then of course our budget, as far as our revenue loss, that we’ve experienced
tremendous losses as we conclude this physical year and how can we recover from that going into next
year. What are our school enrollment numbers going to look like? We’re in the process of doing a big
district survey as far as our family is going to be ready to come back in the fall and check if they feel

We’re working on building our real pain plants to ensure the safety of all students and staff as a priority.
With how these last few months has been running, decisions are going to have to be made quickly. You
can plan for all of this and then it’s going to be the constant change and adjustments that we’re going to
have to make.

At this point I think that’s the hardest budgeting piece is because there are just so many unknowns in
meal service models. What kind of service are we going to have? Is it going to be in the classroom?
Fortunately for us, we’ve been running a kind of a self-serve model at our elementary is where we
package all of the food.

So that is to our advantage. I think coming into this with the kind of grab and go concept is probably
going to be most likely what we’re going to have to do because of the physical distancing and those
protocols that we’re going to have to have in place, but is that going to be in the cafeteria or in the

With a lot of the procedures that you’ve obviously been forced to implement over the past couple of
months, do you see any of those procedures carrying into this upcoming school year?

At this point, our district does have a face covering protocol in place for employees that are going to be
serving the public or working around others. So, I think, first the start of school, that’s something that
I’m preparing for . Ourstaff is most likely going to need to wear masks when they’re interacting with
students and other staff. I certainly think some additional cleaning protocols, disinfecting and taking
those extra precautionary steps that we’ve been doing is something that we’re going to continue to
carry forward. I think also just kind of looking at how some of our kitchens are set up and spacing and
some of our flow is something that you needs to be reviewed because if we are going to have to be
mindful of still trying to distance ourselves when we can, even if it’s not always possible, but that’s
something that we did during this time for our centralized kitchen facility.

We actually had place markers set with tape on the ground at our assembly lines to keep everybody six
feet apart and really trying to be mindful of that in our operations. So, I think, looking at our footprints
in our kitchens and what adjustments might we be able to make is something that we’re going to be
working on.

Any last pieces of advice that you have for foodservice workers and nutrition professionals across the country that you’d like to share as they’re planning and heading into this upcoming school year?

Make sure that you’re connecting with your district. I know oftentimes food service departments can
sometimes struggle to be connected and involved with the entire district, but certainly that’s something
that’s essential right now.

We need to connect with operations and all the different protocols and procedures that are going to be
implemented. If that’s not something that normally happens in your district, I think just making sure that
you’re inserting yourself in those conversations and not just hanging back because you can’t do it alone.
You need the support of your district and working with other departments and making sure everybody’s
on the same page. I think that’s something very important and some of those partnerships, connections,
I think is essential as we move forward into these challenging and unknown times.

Use the word, insert yourself into the conversation. I think there’s some districts where you’re going to
have to force yourself into the conversation. I think sometimes child nutrition feels like we’re on the
outside looking in. Not only can we not do it alone, they can’t do it without us. And that’s just the truth.
Whatever your level is, make that clear to your district, because you’ve been blessed to have a very
steady hand in what’s going on in your district in Tucson.

I just hope that the supervisor, the superintendents, the principals, these board members that have not
always given voice to child nutrition will realize exactly how vital and important these true superheroes
are on the job they do every single day.

I think this whole experience has helped most districts to get that well overdue acknowledgment. We
need to just ride that way for sure. Make sure you don’t pull back. Just keep the momentum going for

Making Tech Part Of The Team

Making Tech Part Of The Team
With Bart Christian, who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.


School Nutrition Education Program
Making Tech Part Of The Team
USDA Professional Standards Code 3430/4120/4140/4150


Bart Christian – who is a nationally recognized speaker and the school nutrition industry.

Technology is something that’s coming like a freight train and we really need to look at different tools
and different tricks that we can really use on a daily basis to help our staff understand the value, the
“why” behind what we’re trying to accomplish and really embrace the change that we’re implementing.

There are three constants in life according to Steven Covey.

1. Change
2. Choice
3. Principles

These things never change and what does change is your choice about how you’re going to address
change. One thing we don’t realize in this society is that we’ve been through tremendous amount of

Baby boomers are viewed as being change resistance. We have seen the most change than anybody in
any generation in the history. When we first started listening to music, it was records on 8-track tapes
but now, we have everything on our phones.

There are just so many things out there that the things we’re going through now, as far as technology
goes, should honestly be easy for most of us. It’s not so much simpler than it’s ever been but it’s
different than it’s ever been.

Introducing a new technology program to School Food Handlers

Staffs tend to refuse the use of new technology program because of their fear that it might be hard to
use. That’s why ease of use is really important especially these days. In a lot of ways, some people also
just shut the idea of learning how to use it not just because they cannot learn it but they just decide that
they don’t want to learn it.

We had one meeting with a district before where the cafeteria staff were unwilling to kind of embrace
the program wholeheartedly. So we asked them how many of them has smartphones and everyone held
a smartphone. We asked them to take a picture of something and send it to us with some random text.
All of a sudden there were tons of messages coming. What they didn’t realized is that they did much
more steps taking the picture and sending them to us than the steps that they would take to take and
complete a lesson inside our program.

With this exercise we were able to prove that some people are really just not interested to learn these
things no matter how easy it is. We can conclude that it is more of a willingness to accept is versus the
ability to accept it.

However, with what we are going through right now, remote learning and access to that kind of
information is only going to be found through technology. We believe that this is going to be the
triggering factor that’s going to push people to the edge in a lot of ways.

How do we get our staff to embrace change and accept it as something that is of value?

• Understand that there are differences in generations. Millennials look to thinks for utility and it
is easier for them to accept new changes like this but older generations would still need to
understand why they need to do it and they have to know the usefulness of it.
• You have to know what approach you will use each of your staff because everybody looks at
learning differently. One thing may work with one person but it may not work with the other.
• Accept the different ways people accept information. Change your perspective on how you talk
to your staff depending on who you are talking to.
• Regardless of what technology you are implementing, your employees have to have time to
adjust to the content before you introduce the item.
• Allow your employees to process that this change is going to happen.
• Constantly remind them of the change.
• Group your employees based on their knowledge about technology to prevent missing the mark
when introducing it to them.

Engagement – occupy somebody’s attention

Activation – to cause them to do something that causes them to make something fully operational.

Key things about different generations

• If you want to engage in activation, for boomers, you need to grant them a responsibility that is
equal to their afford. You have to give them mentoring opportunities.
• When you’re engaged in activating the generation X group, you want to be sure you have clear
goals and expectations. They respond very well to goals. They allow for creativity.
• Younger people understand the need for each other. They understand that in order to be
successful, they need to feed off the knowledge and expertise to the other generations.
• Let younger people teach older generations. This will empower them and make them better
members of the group.

“Someone is sitting under the shade of a tree because someone planted it a long time ago.”
—-Warren Buffett

The world has changed so much in the last 10 years and it will change even more in the next 50 years.
However, people tend to resist change. They resist if they don’t understand why there is a need to
change. The most important thing is to explain the “why” first before explaining the “how”.

Strategies and tools for directors in introducing technology to your staff

• First of all, make sure that the company provided materials are easy to understand.
• It would be better to create videos with detailed and step by step instructions to help your staff
get familiarized
• Make sure that your tools are user friendly
• Build a training program that meets all your staff in the middle
• Focus on having accessibility to training on multiple platforms
• Show your staff you are 100% committed and not just doing it for the sake of compliance
• Set goals and follow up with them to make sure that they actually did it
• People will value training if they realize that you value training.
• Adjust your approach depending on different types of learners
• Produce different types of learning materials that would fit different types of learners
• Develop a culture instead of doing it for compliance

2 things that you need to have when introducing a new staff education program

1. Quiz component – to verify understanding
2. Consistent follow ups

“You can get everything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar

People basically want to feel relatively safe, secured and productive. If you can show people how that
they can be more productive, they can be secure in their job and they can be safe at what they’re doing
then you can get so much out of them. Our strength relies on our differences and not in our similarities.
If we only embrace those differences and figure out how we can do it all together.
Start by listening to your staff and understand where they are coming from instead of just going there
and laying all that they need to do.