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Illinois Nutrition Education Programs provides professional development opportunities and in-services for staff members and volunteers to promote healthier choices at your organization or school.

The topics below are grouped by type of organization. These lists are not all-inclusive. Contact us to find out about other available training options. Virtual training opportunities may also be available.

Early childhood centers, such as Head Start, preschools, and daycare centers

It's never too early to start healthy habits, and we can help your center encourage preschool-aged children and their families to make healthier choices with high-quality programming and resources. Our educators provide engaging training and in-services to teachers and other staff. As an authorized entity, we provide Illinois Gateways to Opportunity approved training.

Available training topics include:

  • Motivated by Movement
  • Healthy Eating Starts with Positive Role Models
  • Choosy Eaters can be Healthy Eaters, too
  • Gardening in Early Childhood Centers
  • Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Healthy Beverage Choices
  • Parent Engagement in School Wellness
  • CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements

Emergency food locations, such as food pantries and food banks

Accessing high-quality and healthy food is a challenge for many Illinois families. Our educators provide training to food pantry staff and volunteers on a variety of topics, focused on increasing the availability of healthier choices and encouraging families to choose them.

Available training topics include:

  • Hunger and Health: Growing Together
  • Pantries 2.0: Changing the Face of Emergency Food
  • Food Insecurity and Screening
  • Food Safety in Pantries
  • Implementing Pantry Nudges
  • The Power of Policy: Nutrition Policy and your Food Pantry

Elementary, middle, and high schools

Youth who eat healthier foods and are more physically active are better prepared for learning. Our team can provide in-service and training topics to help your school foster an environment that encourages healthier choices throughout the day - in the classroom and beyond.

Available training topics include:

  • School Wellness Initiatives
  • Healthy Celebrations
  • Smart Snacks
  • Reimbursable Meals
  • Breakfast after the Bell
  • Basic Culinary Math and Measuring Tools
  • Standardized Recipes
  • Increasing Student Engagement
  • Food Handler Training
  • Marketing, Merchandising, and Presentation

Additional in-person and online learning topics for school nutrition employees are available through the ABCs of School Nutrition, a professional standards portal that helps employees meet their USDA Professional Standards training requirements. The ABCs of School Nutrition is available thanks to a partnership between University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Additional topics specific to school gardens include:

  • Grant Writing
  • Parent Engagement and Volunteer Management
  • Food Safety
  • Nutrition From the Garden
  • Classroom Activities

Photo credit: University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Counties