September is Better Breakfast Month!

What better way to kick off the 17-18 school year than with Better Breakfast Month! While many people have heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we know this is especially true for our young learners. A nourishing meal at the start of the school day can help improve student academic performance and behavior. Additionally, studies have shown that children who eat breakfast have improved concentration, alertness, comprehension, memory and learning! (Check out for more information).  In addition to nourishing our children, breakfast at school aids in alleviating food insecurities in the home.  For many children, school breakfast and lunch are the main, most nutritious meals they receive during the day. NDS proudly offers universal free breakfast to all participating schools in the 5-county Philadelphia region.  Every day of the school year, NDS offers well-balanced meals with a variety of whole-grain rich items, fruit and 100% fruit juice, and low-fat milk options. The menu is limited in sodium, calories, saturated fats, and trans fats, and are tailored to meet the nutrient requirements of specific age grade groups.  This year, NDS will provide a variety of options for children that are both palatable and nutritious.  We are excited to offer a few new items on the menu including: A Trix Cereal Bar, Eggo Blueberry Pancakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Bar, and French Toast Sticks! When students have access to a healthy school breakfast, they have access to the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and succeed. Help us celebrate this month as well as Better Breakfast Day on Tuesday, September 26th by sharing pictures of your students fueling up for a successful day!  

Lunch With Their Heroes

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Fire Department  stopped by Saint Barnabas’ Out-of-School Time (OST) program to talk children about fire safety. Children had the opportunity to tour the truck and presented their “heroes” with handmaid cards to thank them for their service. In addition, fire fighters sat at the lunch table while children enjoyed their favorite lunch: popcorn chicken with carrots, an apple, 100% fruit punch, milk, and garlic hummus. NDS and children from St. Barnabas’ OST program would like to thank Engine 40 for making lunch extra special!

Nutritional Development Services Hold 11th Annual Blessing of Summer to Kick Off Summer Meals Program

Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia held its 11th Annual Blessing of the Summer to kick off the Summer Meals Program.

Students at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School Help Enrich the Lives of Children from the Summer Meals Program

Nutritional Development Services received a generous donation for its Summer Meals Program from students at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School.

Showing Appreciation for Our Partners in Wellness

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, NDS held a Staff Appreciation Lunch to show gratitude and appreciation for all those who help make the school meals program a success. This year, staff members from partnering schools were invited to get in line with students and enjoy a popular, nutritious, and delicious meal:  popcorn chicken served with fresh romaine salad, baby carrots, fresh pineapple, Keebler Elf grahams, and a carton of milk. Each year, many staff members say they look forward to this event including Ms. Vicky from Saint Veronica School in Philadelphia who said, “I’m very happy for the opportunity to have an NDS meal and experience what the children do every day.” In addition to a fun day for staff members, students enjoyed seeing their role models making healthy food choices. When teachers from St. Frances Cabrini Regional Catholic School in Philadelphia got in line with their students, the kindergarten class roared with laughter. Since 2014, NDS’ annual Staff Appreciation Lunch has served over 2,300 lunches to thank staff at our partner schools. NDS looks forward to continuing this tradition each year.

Students at Tech Freire Charter High School Put Their Best Forks Forward

In honor of National Nutrition Month, Jean Falk, Registered Dietitian for Nutritional Development Services (NDS), hosted a taste test at Tech Freire Charter High School. Tech Freire is a new high school that joined the NDS school breakfast and lunch program this school year. Their students’ feedback is especially valuable in developing an appealing, age-appropriate high school lunch menu. A dedicated group of freshman and sophomore taste testers put their “Best Forks Forward” to try two potential new meals: Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and chicken drums with potato rounds. The students particularly enjoyed the home-style appeal of the chicken drums. In the end, both meals received the taste testers’ stamp of approval! NDS partners with 98 parochial, charter, and small Christian schools to serve an average of 17,000 lunches each day across the southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Taste Tests are offered regularly throughout the school year to engage students in the menu-planning process and to offer a variety of student-selected food choices to increase meal satisfaction.  School lunch provides a student with 1/3 of their daily requirement for calories and key growth nutrients. National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” reminds students eating healthy improves health now and in the future. To learn more about National Nutrition Month, please visit  

Students Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for many families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, Nutritional Development Services (NDS) helps nearly 7,600 students start every school day with a nutritious breakfast. To encourage students to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, NDS participated in this year’s National School Breakfast Week (NSBW). The NSBW campaign theme, “School Breakfast Challenge,” reminded the entire school community that breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day. Students from Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Michael the Archangel, and Presentation B.V.M. took the challenge by completing fun puzzles and activities with their classmates. Ms. Brooke Mullen, Assistant Director of Community Relations for NDS said, “Breakfast is critical for children, as they require energy for growth and development as well as for play and learning.  Children who eat breakfast regularly have longer attention spans, improvement in test scores, and increased cognitive function.” In addition, Ms. Mullen said, “The School Breakfast program helps alleviate several barriers to breakfast consumption in children, including food insecurity (lack of access to food) early school hours, lack of time, and two-parent working families.” NDS makes The School Breakfast Program available to students at no cost in 84 elementary and high schools throughout the region. School Breakfast provides a student with a quarter of their daily calories and key growth nutrients. A typical breakfast consists of a whole grain entrée such as an apple-cinnamon muffin, mini maple pancakes, or an egg and cheese bagel; a half-pint of low-fat or fat-free milk; and two servings of fruit, such as fresh fruit, applesauce, raisins, or one hundred percent fruit juice.

Menu Feedback & New Additions

Gathering feedback and continually updating our menus helps us to better serve thousands of students who participate in our school breakfast and lunch programs. […]

St. Joseph’s Prep Summer Donation

Thanks to a wonderful partnership with St. Joe’s Prep, NDS has been able get the Summer Meals Program off to a great start for the summer sites. […]

Placemat Contest 2015-16 Winners

Hundreds of students submitted creative and inspiring placemat designs to the NDS Placemat Contest, and our Facebook friends helped to choose three winners to be printed and distributed to schools for National Nutrition Month in March! […]