The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) offers free group training on a broad range of topics for child nutrition professionals working in school nutrition and child care settings. In addition to training sessions at the Institute's headquarters at The University of Mississippi, training may be requested free-of-charge for presentation at local sites throughout the country.

Who may request free training? Representatives of state agencies administering child nutrition programs, USDA regional offices, School Nutrition Association state affiliates, CACFP sponsors, and allied organizations (such as ASBO) may request.

What else should I know?

  • Trainings must be requested at least 8-10 weeks before the training date.
  • Training sessions must be a minimum of 4 hours in a single day.
  • The requesting person or agency must provide a training site and basic AV equipment, promote the training, and pre-register a minimum of 25 participants.
  • Arrangements for trainers are coordinated by the ICN Training Team.
  • Participants' training materials are provided free-of-charge and shipped to the training site.

Now what?

Review the training topics listed below. If you want to know more, click on the links for a closer look at the training materials.

I'm ready to submit a request!

When you have decided on a topic, date, and location - you are ready to request a training. Scroll down to the red block "Apply Now" and click for access to the ICN Group Training Request Form.

Face-to-Face Training Sessions Currently Offered

Training Sessions for School Nutrition Programs

  • Cashier's Training 
    (2 training hours) This session helps school nutrition program cashiers understand the requirements for a reimbursable lunch and breakfast.  This training contains short, skill-building activities that reinforce key messages to help recognize a reimbursable meal at the point-of-service using the Offer Versus Serve (OVS) option.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Managers and Food Service Assistants/Technicians
    KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Nutrition 101: A Taste of Food and Fitness
    (8 training hours) This course qualifies for SNA core course
    certification level 1.
    This training provides a basic overview of nutrition with an emphasis on the importance of balance in daily food choices and the inclusion of physical activity as a key component to good health. The training incorporates a variety of learning activities including short physical activity boosters.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Managers, Food Service Assistants/Technicians
    KEY AREA: 1: Nutrition

  • Orientation to School Nutrition Management
    (30.5 training hours) This session provides an overview of the management components of school nutrition programs. The target audience includes school nutrition program staff with fewer than 5 years' experience as a director or those who may aspire to be a director, as well as state agency staff, specialists, and trainers. Lesson topics:
    • Program Accountability, Integrity and the Role of the School Nutrition Director
    • Food Production and Operation Management
    • USDA Foods
    • Meal Pattern/HealthierUS School Challenge
    • Special Needs
    •  Customer Service, Merchandising, and Food Presentation
    • Federal Regulations
    • Farm to School: An Introduction for New School Food Service Directors
    • Financial Management
    • Procurement and Inventory Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing School Nutrition Programs
    • Food Safety Essentials
    • Work Place Safety and Emergency Preparedness
      TARGET AUDIENCE - New and Aspiring Directors
      KEY AREA: 1: Nutrition, 2: Operations, 3: Administration & 4: Communications and Marketing

  • Utilizing the Cafeteria as a Classroom
    (1 to 5 training hours) The school cafeteria is a valuable venue for school nutrition professionals to assist teachers and parents with encouraging children to make wise food choices that will contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This course provides tools and resources to enhance a school nutrition program that will be recognized as an integral part of the education system. Lessons are designed to reinforce learning objectives by engaging participants in learning activities. Each lesson offers a flexible timeframe of 1-to- 1.25 hours. Lesson topics:
    • Marketing Healthy Options
    • Reaching Out to the School Community
    • Communicating with Parents
    • Farm to School and School Garden Programs
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers
      KEY AREA: 4: Communications and Marketing

  • Basic Culinary Math for School Nutrition Professionals (6 training hours) The goal of this training is to provide participants with the opportunity to review and practice basic culinary math skills, including the basic math principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The remainder of the training will focus on other key skills such as measuring and converting measurements, scaling recipes, and calculating food costs.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - School Nutrition Assistants and Technicians
    KEY AREAS: 2: Operations & 3: Administration

Financial Management & Procurement

  • Reimbursable School Meals
    (4 training hours) This session provides general information in meal pattern planning and Offer versus Serve (OVS).
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors
    KEY AREA: 1: Nutrition & 2: Operations

  • Financial Management: A Course for School Nutrition Directors (8-hour or 12-hour training sessions available) This session provides training on management of finances and other resources as the foundation for nutrition integrity and quality meals in school nutrition programs. Lesson topics include:
    • Importance of Financial Management
    • Development of a Financial Management Information System
    • Communication and Ethical Behavior
    • Reporting Revenue and Expenditures
    • Setting a Meal Standard for Financial Management and Analysis
    • Managing Revenue and Expenditures
    • Controlling Food and Labor Costs
    • Financial Planning and Budget Development
    • Developing and Analyzing a Budget
    • Tools to Analyze Financial Status
      TARGET AUDIENCE - School Nutrition Directors
      KEY AREA: 3: Administration

  • Financial Management: A Course for School Nutrition Managers
    (6 training hours) This training was developed for site-based school nutrition managers and supervisors. Participants receive instruction on relationship of program cost and revenue, standard security practices to protect financial integrity, budget management, increasing productivity and decreasing waste, and staff responsibility for sound financial management practices. Lesson topics:
    • Financial Management
    • Production Records
    • Forecasting
    • Menu Item Costs
    • Product Screening
    • Inventory Control
    • Meal Equivalents
    • Labor Costs
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Managers
      KEY AREA: 3: Administration

  • Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs
    (option for 4-hour, 6-hour or 8-hour training sessions) This training session is basic overview of federal procurement principles covering a host of topics related to sourcing and purchasing local foods. This training highlights the variety of methods schools can use to purchase local products while staying in accordance with federal procurement regulations and the many areas within a solicitation where schools can express their desire for local products. Participants will learn how to target local foods when conducting both formal and informal purchases, use the Geographic Preference option, and use the USDA Foods and DoD Fresh Programs to enhance local purchasing.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors
    KEY AREA: 1: Nutrition & 2: Operations

  • Forecasting The Procurement of Foods
    (4 training hours) General concepts about basic forecasting for the procurement of foods in Child Nutrition Programs are covered during this session. This training does not discuss federal regulations pertaining to the procurement system. Key topic areas:
    • Stakeholders' responsibilities and expectations
    • How menus determine goods and services that
      must be competitively procured
    • Inventory management, product movement, and
      cost management
    • Product categories, screening, and specifications
    • CN labeling
    • Accurate forecasting of products.  
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers
      KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Managing Personalities and Conflict
    (4 training hours) The learning objectives for this session are listed below.
    • Identify the role personalities and bias play in conflict.
    • Explain the difference between implicit and explicit bias.
    • Compare and contrast the four most common generational groups as they relate conflict management/resolution.
    • Explain the importance of clear goals and purposes.
    • Recall at least two factors that can impact the outcomes of conflict.
    • Describe at least three problem/non-productive behaviors and the related management techniques.
    • Summarize at least two actions that promote success when managing personalities and conflict.
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers (School Nutrition and CACFP)
      KEY AREA: 3: Administration & 4: Communications and Marketing

Food Safety

  • Food Safety Basics (4 training hours) Developed for new school nutrition managers, employees, and substitute cooks - this training curriculum is designed to provide a basic understanding of food safety. The lesson content covers food safety and why it is important, methods for training school nutrition staff on food safety, how to prevent foodborne illness, and checklists to monitor food safety.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Managers and Food Service Assistants/Technicians
    KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Food Safety in Schools (formerly Serving It Safe)
    (8 training hours) This course qualifies for SNA core
    course certification level 1.
    Food safety is the responsibility of every person in school nutrition programs. Every action has the potential to impact the safety of the food, whether during purchasing, storing, preparing, holding, serving, or cleaning. This comprehensive food safety training course provides guidance for school nutrition professionals to assure the preparation and service of safe food and how to manage a safe and sanitary school nutrition operation. Lesson topics:
    • Food Safety is Top Priority
    • Prevent Foodborne Illness: Understanding Microorganisms
    • Basic Facts About Microorganisms
    • A Clean and Sanitary School Nutrition Facility
    • A Process for Preventing Foodborne Illness
    • Food Safety Programs in Schools
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Everyone
      KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Food Defense: Schools as a Target (Tabletop Exercise)
    (4 training hours) This is a tabletop exercise that involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting. This session may be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures. Training exercise provides suggestions for preventive measures and various resources for developing food defense and emergency preparedness plans. Key concepts:
    • The "who, how, and why" of intentional contamination of school food supplies
    • How to assess the risks
    • Action to prevent or reduce likelihood of intentional attacks on food at receiving, preparation, and service
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers
      KEY AREA: 2: Operations & 3: Administration

  • Inventory Management and Tracking
    (4 training hours) The ability to track food products across the supply chain is at the center of modern inventory management in school nutrition programs. Food safety and security issues have added a need for traceability of food products. This food safety training focuses on the need to trace and track products due to food recalls, foodborne illness, and food security (bioterrorism). Curriculum covers the use of product identifiers - GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) and GS1-128 bar codes - as tracking tools. The goals of this training are to:
    • Identify inventory management best practices
    • Discuss inventory control and supply chains
    • Provide tools for inventory management
    • Introduce traceability and tracking systems
    • Describe incorporation of traceability practices into standard SNP inventory management practices
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers
      KEY AREA: 2: Operations and 3: Administration

  • Food Allergies for School Nutrition Directors
    (12 training hours) Because food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern, managing food allergies in school nutrition programs must be a priority. Employees will learn about the importance of reading labels, preparing foods with care, cleaning procedures to prevent an allergic reaction, immediate response to an allergic reaction, and promoting food allergy awareness in the school community. Participants will create a food allergy action plan.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors
    KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Mock Health Inspection
    (4 training hours) This is an interactive, activity-based training utilizing the concept of a mock health inspection. Participants will be able to explain why health inspections are conducted at least twice a year in schools and the role of periodic inspections and self-inspections to enhance the effectiveness of food safety management programs. Participants will be able to identify risk-based food safety practices and conduct a risk-based inspection.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers
    KEY AREA: 2: Operations

  • Norovirus for Schools - Everyone Plays a P.A.R.T. in
    Norovirus Control

    (2 training hours) Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness, and it is estimated that more than half of all food-related outbreaks of illness are caused by norovirus. This training includes participant interaction and activities. Content focus:
    • Why norovirus is a concern in child nutrition settings
    • Symptoms of norovirus and how it is transmitted
    • Norovirus prevention and control strategies (Prevent, Assemble a Body Fluid Cleanup Kit, Respond to an incident, Total cleanup)
    • Resources for norovirus prevention and control
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Everyone
      KEY AREA: 2: Operations

Train The Trainer

  • Foundations for Training Excellence
    (8 training hours) This training models techniques to actively facilitate adult learning. Throughout the course, trainers demonstrate how to deal with different learning styles, engage the learner in a wide range of activities without over-relying on slide presentations, and establish a positive learning environment.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors (School Nutrition and CACFP)
    KEY AREA: 3: Administration

  • Foundations for Training Excellence: Basics
    (4 training hours) This session will assist participants in assessing their current skill levels and encourage further professional development. Participants will
    • create a topic-focused icebreaker,
    • identify skills of successful trainers
    • describe ways to apply adult learning principles,
    • identify the importance of recognizing audience sensitivity in a training,
    • identify different learning styles and delivery techniques for adult learners,
    • recognize effective facilitation techniques, and
    • identify the characteristics of effective visual aids.
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Directors and Managers (School Nutrition and CACFP)
      KEY AREA: 3: Administration



  • Healthy Cuisine for Kids
    (2-day "hands-on" Culinary Training) requires a demonstration area with access to a culinary lab or prep kitchen that will accommodate 20-25 participants divided into 4-5 teams. The training is conducted by a chef and a registered dietitian who provide classroom and hands-on experiences for learning healthful cooking methods. Preparation techniques, such as knife skills, and a variety of cooking methods are demonstrated and practiced using healthful ingredients. Culinary techniques that yield quality products are used to prepare recipes reflective of the nutrition principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Four culinary labs involve participants in preparing, presenting, tasting, and evaluating USDA award-winning recipes that appeal to students. Safety and sanitation principles are demonstrated and practiced throughout the training. Culinary labs are: (1) Culinary Basics, (2) Fruits and Vegetables, (3) Whole Grain-Rich Foods, and (4) Meat/Meat Alternates.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Managers, Food Service Assistants/Technicians
    KEY AREAS: 1: Nutrition & 2: Operations

Training Sessions for Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP)

NEW! CACFP Meal Pattern

  • Infants Meal Pattern Requirements 
    (3 hours)  This training features the updated requirements for serving infants based on their growth and development. Through this two-hour training, participants will explore each update to the infant meal pattern, as well as provide tips and strategies for implementation.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Child Care Directors

  • Optimal Best Practices  
    (1 hour)  
    This training features information and strategies for implementing the CACFP's optional meal pattern best practices. Through this one-hour training, participants will explore each practice, as well as tips and strategies for implementation.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Child Care Directors

  • Family Child Care FUNdamentals
    (1 to 7 training hours) This session provides short, focused training topics on providing nutritious meals for young children. The updated curriculum includes health and wellness information, creative methods for program planning, the importance of teaching children early about good nutrition, and steps for incorporating physical activity. Lesson topics:
    Lesson 1: Health and Wellness
    Lesson 2: Selecting a Variety of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
    Lesson 3: Cost-Effective Shopping
    Lesson 4: Food Safety Fundamentals
    Lesson 5: Mealtime Procedures
    Lesson 6: Food Allergies and Intolerances
    Lesson 7: Infants and Development
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Family Child Care Providers

  • Food Purchasing for Child Care
    (7.5 training hours) This training focuses on good purchasing practices and following current federal regulations. Participants will learn about planning menus, developing an organized grocery list, estimating the amount of foods to purchase, selecting a qualified vendor, and placing orders. Lesson topics:
    Lesson 1: Working With the Menu
    Lesson 2: Creating Grocery Lists
    Lesson 3: Estimating Quantities
    Lesson 4: Following the Rules
    Lesson 5: Understanding Ethics
    Lesson 6: Food Vendor Choices
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Everyone

  • Introduction to Happy Mealtimes in Child Care Settings (formerly Happy Mealtimes for Healthy Kids)
    (1 to 4 training hours) This training provides child care professionals with best practices for creating positive and safe mealtime environments for young children. Lesson topics:
    Lesson 1: Implement Schedules and Routines
    Lesson 2: Serve Meals Family-Style
    Lesson 3: Implement Food Safety Practices
    Lesson 4: Focus on Healthy Habits
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Child Care Staff

  • Healthy Me! The Preschoolers' Guide to Nutrition and Wellness
    (4 training hours) This is a training for child care
    professionals to implement healthful best practices that promote healthy growth and development in young children. Content focuses on best practices for nutrition and wellness, building a healthy plate, safe mealtime environment, active play environment, and developing wellness policies for child care.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Child Care Directors and Parents

CACFP Food Safety Topics

  • Norovirus for Child Care - Everyone Plays a
    P.A.R.T. in Norovirus Control
    (2 training hours) Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness, and it is estimated that more than half of all food-related outbreaks of illness are caused by norovirus. This training includes participant interaction and activities. Content focus:
    • Why norovirus is a concern in child care settings
    • Symptoms of norovirus and how it is transmitted
    • Norovirus prevention and control strategies (Prevent, Assemble a Body Fluid Cleanup Kit, Respond to an incident, Total cleanup)
    • Resources on norovirus prevention and control.
      TARGET AUDIENCE - Everyone

  • Food Safety in Child Care
    (4 training hours) This food safety training is for child care employees using the four key concepts of the USDA Fight BAC program:
    Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill.
    TARGET AUDIENCE - Everyone

Team Up For School Nutrition Success

Team Up for School Nutrition Success is a unique learning experience that serves to enhance schools' food operations by providing tailored technical assistance to school nutrition programs that want to maintain a healthy environment and student meal program participation. This workshop will pair participants with a mentor so that effective peer-to-peer mentoring is provided in a variety of areas. The workshop will include panel discussions of creative solutions for implementing the regulations and possibly some specific training. The workshop will also have representatives from allied organizations offering resources to districts at no cost.

Learn More and Register for Team Up Workshop

What happens next?

After you have entered the information on the Training Request Form, scroll to the bottom and press "Submit." If your request is successfully transmitted to ICN, you will receive an electronic reply. If you do not receive a reply, please contact ICN.

Three Things to Remember:

  • ICN requires at least 8-10 weeks' advance notice before the training date to schedule and plan a training session.
  • ICN Consultant Trainers must train a minimum of 4 hours in a single day.
  • A minimum of 25-30 participants is required for ICN to provide a training session.
Apply Now



For answers to questions or for more information about training opportunities, contact the ICN Training Team at training@theicn.org or call 800-321-3054 and ask to speak to a member of the Training Team.