Allergy Management and Nutrition Education with Shaun Sawko

Allergy Management and Nutrition Education with Shaun Sawko

Being the new kid on the block as a dietitian in school nutrition can be intimidating.  This episode Next Gen professional Shawn Sawko, RD shares what has worked for him, in the 8th largest school district in the nation.  

We discuss 

  • managing allergies without excess expense or inventory

  • the reach of nutrition education in school nutrition

  • practical ways to bring nutrition education into the cafeteria and classroom

Supporting Students with Diabetes; Diabetes basics with Marlisa Brown, MS RD CDE CDN

Supporting Students with Diabetes; Diabetes basics with  Marlisa Brown, MS RD CDE CDN

November is National Diabetes Month.  There is a lot of misinformation out there about diabetes. As a number of us serve students living with diabetes, I’m excited to be have a national spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators ( on today to clear up some of the confusion around diabetes management.   


Plant Forward Menu Development with Rebecca Portman, MS

	Plant Forward Menu Development with Rebecca Portman, MS

We all want our kids to be more accepting of fruits and vegetables. Plant-based Food System Strategist Rebecca Portman, MS of Forward Food is with us today to explain best practices in plant forward menu development.  Forward Food aims to support foodservice directors, chefs, and dietitians to grow a healthier, more sustainable food system using plant-based foods. 

This episode we discuss

  • Marketing plant based menu items

  • The effect of plant based whole food on the bottom line

  • Training resources to get programs started

Resources Mentioned 

Optimizing Employee Performance and Building Healthy Work Cultures with Dionna A. Appling M.S.M

Optimizing Employee Performance and Building Healthy Work Cultures with Dionna A. Appling M.S.M

Dionna Appling has a Masters Degree in Business, specializing in Management Science and is Lean Six Sigma certified as well. In her work experience, Dionna noticed a trend of poor leadership, demotivated employees and dysfunctional work environments in various companies. She decided to start a consulting & coaching business, Business Advocates PRO, Inc. (BA PRO), to help companies overcome these issues. BA PRO helps small business owners & team managers transform toxic & dysfunctional company culture. The goals is simple: To help leaders create an engaging & high performing workplace where employees to come to work & do their best because they want to, not because they have to.

Dionna has been featured on as a Company Culture expert. She has also been honored with opportunities of servicing clients in various industries including (but not limited to): school districts, administration, medical practices, and non-profit organizations.

Dionna is the creator of The Culture Building like a PRO Podcast where she shares practical tips, tools & resources to build a thriving culture, increase employee engagement, and develop leadership skills.

This episode we discuss:

  • Defining work culture

  • What constitutes a good leader

  • Improving work cultures in our districts where productivity and morale is slipping and retention rates and suffering

  • How to stay professional in a toxic environment

Sustainability in School Nutrition

Sustainability in School Nutrition

Ryan Cengel MS MA RD LD SNS- Registered Dietitian for the Austin Independent School District has a unique perspective on the importance of school nutrition as a former classroom teacher. Ryan has over half a decade of  experience as a classroom teacher including multiple years serving his students breakfast in the classroom. His educational background includes undergraduate degrees in culinary arts and nutrition and master’s degrees in education and nutrition. 

This episode we discuss

  • Connecting and effectively marketing to parents in the district

  • Introducing sustainable initiatives to the school nutrition program

  • Marketing salad bars in a way that captures the attention of elementary students

Serving up Quality Meals and Nutrition Education at the Department of Juvenile Justice

Department of Juvenile Justice works to protect and serve the citizens of Georgia by holding young offenders accountable for their actions and by supporting these children to become productive lives as law-abiding citizens.  Despite that there is confusion and misinformation around the treatment of kids in the care of DJJ. 

This episode I speak with Stephanie Henesy, Chief of the Office of Nutrition & Food Services at DJJ.  She sheds light on what the nutrition department does to nourish and support the students at DJJ.

Stephanie Henesy has been named the 2019 Young Dietitian of the Year by the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  You will have a sense of why Stephanie stands out from her peers and is an award willing young professional by the end of our conversation together. 

This episode we discuss

-      How to successfully on board yourself in a new administrative food service position

-      How DJJ food service compares to other school nutrition operations

-      Gardening programs and nutrition education at DJJ

-      The true purpose of administrative reviews

Dairy Myths with Will McWhirter, MBA, RDN, LDN

Dairy Myths with   Will McWhirter, MBA, RDN, LDN

The Dairy Alliance works with schools and nutrition programs throughout the Southeast to promote dairy nutrition, enhance school menu options, and promote physical activity. 

There are a lot of concerns surrounding dairy consumption. This episode Will McWhirter comes on the show to dispel dairy myths and explain how the Dairy Alliance partners with schools. Will McWhirter is both Registered Dietitian and the Manager of Youth Wellness at the Atlanta based Dairy Alliance.

This episode we discuss

  • Common dairy myths

  • Creative ways districts are providing dairy to students

  • Positioning milk to compete with sugary drinks

Building Menus that Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion

Building Menus that Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion

Jose Quinones has been touting the benefits of diversity since the 80s, long before it became to be the buzzword that it is today.  In addition to being a proponent of inclusion Jose Quinones is a a dynamic presenter and a champion for student access to delicious food that will keep them coming back to the cafeteria again and again.

This episode we discuss:

  • How to create an inclusive menu

  • Adding interest and flavor to the menu without adding sodium

  • Maximizing inventory usage Making accurate health messaging heard in a market crowded with misinformation

  • Delivering effective and captivating trainings

  • Using frontline wisdom to strengthen your operation