The Louisiana Team Nutrition Training Grant program (LA TNTG) is in place to create healthier school nutrition environments and encourage healthier eating behaviors among students.
The LA TNTG program is applying two unique approaches to reaching students and school communities around the state. LA TNTG has awarded a [competitive] mini-grant of $5,000 and technical assistance to 15 schools. These resources support classroom nutrition curriculum, smarter lunchroom (SL) strategies, and creative projects or campaigns to engage students in healthier food practices. Simultaneously, in conjunction with the Louisiana Culinary Institute, LA TNTG is providing school food service professionals from these and other schools, with hands-on Culinary Training designed to improve critical food preparation skills.
Grade specific pre/post classroom surveys have been developed to capture change in nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among nutrition curriculum participants. Photos and stories are being collected from schools to document their local, innovative food/nutrition projects. An initial and six-month follow-up Culinary skills survey was developed and is being implemented among culinary training participants to capture changes in cooking skills, food-prep knowledge, food appreciation, and attitudes toward work. Increased use of SL strategies is being measured as annual improvements on SL score cards. School production records and meal participant numbers for the 15 mini-grant schools are being tracked over the grant period to identify changes in consumption of key foods or meals. And the CDC School Health Index is being used to track change in nutrition environment over the TNTG period.
Conclusion and Implications
Still in the early stages, LA TNTG is poised to influence student eating behaviors through nutrition education, modifications to food service practices, and inspiring food-related activities. Opportunities presented through the LA TNTG could motivate long-term healthier behaviors among students, teachers, food service workers and their families.