Special Minute Menu Announcement

Dear Minute Menu Clients,

Our founder, Tom Clark, has retired after more than 26 years building solutions to support the CACFP and childcare.  He remains an advocate for the CACFP community and committed to the long-term success of our company and our customers.  Those of you who attend CACFP conferences are sure to see him there over the coming year, and possibly beyond.  His retirement preparation included a long transition of responsibilities to ensure continued success for the CACFP, Minute Menu, and our devoted clients.

Minute Menu Systems is proud to introduce our new CEO, Matt Wilson.  Matt brings over a decade of leadership experience, including service in the US Army and advanced leadership training in the manufacturing and engineering space. After completing his MBA, Matt was drawn to Minute Menu’s larger mission supporting the CACFP and the childcare industry. Like many Americans, Matt grew up in the childcare system, and is thrilled to be in a position to support the people who directly and indirectly care for the children of working Americans.

Matt joins Natalie Clark, who will continue in her long-term role as Chief Operating Officer and Board Member, to complete our executive team.  We know that Matt’s enthusiasm for our company’s mission and his diverse background will drive our company to new levels of accomplishment and success.

Partnership with Alpine Investors

As a part of this transition, Minute Menu Systems is very proud to announce our new partnership with Alpine Investors. We are very excited for this opportunity to join forces to address the needs of the childcare and CACFP marketplace.

Alpine Investors is a values-driven private equity firm with a mission to build enduring companies by working with, learning from and developing exceptional people. Alpine specializes in middle-market companies in the software, online and business services industries. For more information, visit www.alpine-investors.com.

Through the years, we have acquired loyal, unwavering customers who have helped us grow, and a team of committed employees who have invested their special talents in the company and culture. Because of that, Minute Menu Systems is the leading provider of software solutions for the CACFP community. The partnership with Alpine Investors will enable Minute Menu to fulfill its mission to continue to deliver the most comprehensive CACFP solution to America’s childcare sponsor organizations and providers.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our new partnership with Alpine Investors. They are truly a great match for our company because they share our values, understand the importance of our mission and were willing to invest in us to further realize our potential to improve the lives of our customers.” –Natalie Clark, COO, Minute Menu Systems

Minute Menu Systems will still be the company you know and love, just with greater opportunities. Our staff members who make this company possible will still be here to serve you, and we will have exciting, new additions joining the team that will increase our level of support for you, our valued customer. We cannot wait for what’s to come as we enhance our current product offerings, provide more software solutions for our customers, and find new ways to serve the childcare community.

We greatly appreciate your loyalty and are looking forward to this exciting opportunity with all of you! If you have any questions about this news and how it will affect you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information, please view our press release.
                        

Tom Clark                                                                                               Matt Wilson

Sincerely, 

Your Minute Menu Team

Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement

The new Fruit/Vegetable requirement splits the previous ONE component (Fruits/Vegetables) into TWO separate components. (Fruits. And Vegetables.)

But what does this mean for our providers and how can we train them the most effectively?

Let’s break it down.

What is changing for…

  • Breakfast? Nothing changes. Provider’s can still serve a fruit or a vegetable for breakfast.
  • Snack? Providers can serve a fruit with a vegetable for a reimbursable snack. This adds flexibility for the providers!
  • Lunch/Dinner? Providers must serve at least one vegetable. Two vegetables can be served. But two fruits cannot be served. At least one vegetable must be served at lunch and dinner starting on Oct. 1 2017 otherwise the meal will not be reimbursable.

Since the change has the deepest impact on lunches and dinners and could result in a disallowance if providers do not comply after Oct. 1st 2017, focus your training on serving at least one vegetable at lunch and dinner. Phrasing it like this is much easier to remember and implement. Which one of these phrases do you think is easier to understand?

  1. The vegetable/fruit component is now split into two separate components.
  2. Start serving a vegetable with lunch and dinner!

(I vote #2!) Start training providers to “serve a vegetable with lunch and dinner” now! Talk about it at home visits, post it on your company social media pages, send a broadcast message from HX to all providers, add it to your email signature for a few weeks, mention it when providers call, and get the message out to providers any way you can!

I would even encourage you to create master menus for lunch/dinner and make sure that they all include a vegetable. Watch the Master Menu training video for more information!

You can also use the food combination rules feature to help train providers on this new requirement. Set up a Food Combination rule that generates an error message when two fruits are served at lunch and dinner. (If two fruits are served, that means a vegetable was not served.) This rule should be set to provide a “warning” message (not a disallowance) since meals that meet the current meal pattern are still allowable (even in states in early implementation) until Oct. 1 2017. The error that is generated can be internal only or you can choose to make it visible to providers. To setup a Food Combination rule go to Administration > Food Combinations.

For more information on how to setup a food combination rule, please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern blog article.

Preparing Providers: Foods not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern

Start training and preparing providers for the new meal pattern now! Whether you’re in an early implementation state or not, there is a lot of training that needs to happen to get your providers up to speed.

The USDA memos are clear that providers should NOT be disallowed for meals that meet the current/soon-to-be-old meal pattern. (Just read the Technical Assistance section of the Early Implementation memo.) So instead of just taking away foods that are not allowed under the new meal pattern (but are reimbursable until then) you can generate error messages for the providers to see, which will help you train them over the next several months and allow them to continue claiming reimbursable meals. Setting this up will only take a few minutes of your time and it will help prepare your providers for some of the changes.

For example, even though grain-based desserts will not be allowed soon (Oct. 1 2017) they are STILL ALLOWED between now and then. So rather than just removing all grain-based desserts from your food list, you can generate error messages that notify providers that they are not allowed under the new meal pattern. This allows them to continue claiming reimbursable meals but also receive technical assistance and training on the new meal pattern.

Use the Food Frequency Rules feature to setup “rules” for any foods that are not allowed or limited under the new meal pattern.

Create rules for:

  • Limiting juice to once per day
  • Limiting juice to zero times per day, week, or month for infants
  • Limiting grain-based desserts to zero times per day, week, or month
  • Limiting protein at breakfast to 3 times per week*

In Minute Menu HX go to Administration > Food Frequency Rules. Any rules created for the new meal pattern change should be set to “warn” only (not disallow) with the exception of the protein at breakfast rule. Watch the Food Frequency Rules training video for more detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

Please watch our Meal Pattern Changes training video for even more information about how to prepare your providers using the tools and features already available in Minute Menu HX.

Please also see the Preparing Providers: Fruit AND Vegetable Requirement blog article!

*Only if you are in an early implementation state that is already allowing a protein at breakfast. Contact the Minute Menu Support Team to have protein items added to the grain section of your food list, for breakfast ONLY, as a temporary work around to allow providers to start claiming those foods. Then, once the protein items have been added, create a Food Frequency Rule limiting those protein items at breakfast to 3 times per week. Since protein at breakfast is NOT part of the current meal pattern, anything over 3 should be disallowed. For this reason, set this rule to disallow (not warn).

CX Release 10.24.0

The 10.24.0 release contains changes to the CX client, so you will need to update your software for all features to remain usable.  You may continue to use the program without updating, however, some of the changes will not be visible.  This release has a few new reports that have never been available before!

10 Bug Fixes:

  • Manage Staff Access now functioning for Track Received Claims function
  • Weekly Quantities Required Report now adding a page break between infants and non-infants
  • Menu Production Record Quantities Required are now accurate whether the meal or attendance were recorded first.
  • Detail Claim Totals By Center – multiple issues
  • Changing a Center By Keystroke Does Not Change Selected Center – Fixed
  • Add better error messages when inputting empty passwords
  • CX Payment export missing file type – Fixed
  • 4-7 month olds are now not required to have foods.  (due to “developmentally ready”)
  • Fixed an issue with saving on the Master Menu.
  • Weekly Attendance Report showing 0’s when center is set to allow saturday/sunday – Fixed

Features:

  • New Center Summary Export.  (takes the numbers from the center dashboard and exports for all centers.
  • New Claim Roster takes a snap shot of the Roster at the time the claim was processed and saves it for later use.
  • Updates to NC and CA and VA eligibility forms

CX Release 10.22.0

The 10.22.0 release contains changes to the CX client, so you will need to update your software for all features to remain usable.  You may continue to use the program without updating, however, some of the changes will not be visible.

Bug Fixes:

  • Correct error message on Sponsor staff screen when attempting to use a password with blank spaces.  (you can’t do that)
  • Monthly Meal Count report was duplicating some names.  Fixed.
  • Fixed a checkbox on the Child Enrollment form for “approved for overnight”
  • Fixed a bug in the Paid Meal Count Summary report where the totals exceeded the OER
  • Added a “select all” option to the Claim export for the error messages section.
  • Added page totals to the Weekly Paid Attendance and Meal count report.
  • Message center no longer throwing an error.
  • In/Out Daily times report no longer duplicating names for centers with multiple licensees.

Features:

  • New updates to the Milk Audit Export
  • New Combines Enrollment and IEF form for Idaho.
  • New Milk Audit report that shows monthly carryover numbers by center.

Summer Safety

child_eating_sandwich

Summertime means fun and adventure! Before you dive into your summer vacation, take a minute to consider the safety risks associated with exciting summer activities. As partners in creating healthy and happy environments for children, Minute Menu offers the following reminders for summer safety.

Stay Safe in the Water

As temperatures rise children and adults spend more time in water. When heading to the pool, lake, beach or other water destination, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Have a plan for supervising children swimming or playing in the water. Make sure enough adults are available to supervise the number of children present. Consider using a visual reminder such as lanyards or small flags for adults and children to know who is in charge at any given time.
  • Swim with a buddy. Drowning can oftenlook like swimming or playing in the water, and the person drowning might not make any noise. Each swimmer should have a buddy who is in the water and can watch for signs of distress. Read more here.
  • Never swim in unfamiliar water. Talk with children about the dangers of playing in or near irrigation ditches, overflow drains, or unfamiliar bodies of water, including flood waters. Bodies of water can have varied depths and currents, both of which can be dangerous or deadly.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen. Apply sunscreen and then wait about 30 minutes before going into the water. This gives the skin time to absorb the sunscreen. Remember to reapply after swimming. Read more tips on choosing, applying, and using sunscreen properly here.

Stay Hydrated

Staying safe in the heat means staying hydrated. Dehydration occurs when the body’s fluid levels are too low. This can happen quickly, especially when exercising or playing outdoors in higher temperatures. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, and choose water over sodas, sports drinks, or other sugary beverages. Water helps you stay hydrated without the added sugar and sodium in other beverages. Learn more about the benefits of drinking water here. Visit this page to learn more about dehydration in children.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a very serious and life threatening condition, and knowing the signs can save a life. Someone suffering heat stroke might appear flushed, out of breath, confused or irritated, begin vomiting or get a sudden headache, and might not be sweating even though they are in the heat. If you suspect a child or adult is suffering heat stroke, contact 911 immediately, get them into a shaded area, and begin cooling them down using fans, ice packs, or cool water. Learn more about heat stroke here.

Protect Skin to Reduce Bug Bites

Summer is a great time for exploring nature. Exploring new areas means encountering new insects and critters, many of which are harmless. Using insect repellent, tucking pants legs into socks, and wearing closed shoes are effective and easy ways to reduce bug bites. Try not to scratch bug bites if you get them, and use topical creams or gels to relieve irritation. If you discover a tick on a child or adult, remember the tick has most likely burrowed into the skin and you will need medical assistance to remove it. Learn more about preventing and treating insect bites here.

All of us at Minute Menu hope you enjoy a fun and safe summer!

Have a summer activity you really enjoy? Share it with us in the comments section below.
References:

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning by Mario Vittone; Herald Tribune Online; 2013.

Sunscreen: How to Select, Apply, and Use It Correctly; Centers for Disease Control report; 2002.

Drink Water Instead of Soda or Juice; http://www.chalkcenter.org .

Dehydration; KidsHealth.org .

Heatstroke; MayoClinic.org

Avoid Bug Bites; Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional Resources:
Flood Safety; National Weather Service

Water Safety; TeensHealth; KidsHealth.org

Heat Stroke: Symptoms and Treatment; WebMD.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make a Better Plan for Your Home Visits by Using hx2go

The hx2go app allows you to get the information you need to make each home visit as cost-effective and efficient as possible. Hx2go can help you:

  1. Plan to review meals that are roughly proportional with meals that are claimed.
  2. Plan to review meals claimed on weekends.

The app will display all un-visited meals that a provider has claimed within the last four months in the Meals Needed column. Once a meal has been visited the abbreviation of that meal will be removed from the list. For example, a provider that claims breakfast, AM Snack, and lunch will show the abbreviations BAL. Once the provider has had a lunch visit, the list will display only BA. Once AM snack is visited, it will simply display only a B. This information helps monitors to diversify their visits, so that the same provider is not visited at the same meal repeatedly. Read more of this post

Six Steps to Get Started on hx2go

The hx2go app can be used on tablets and laptop computers to record home visit reviews. Click here to read some basic information about hx2go on the Minute Menu website. Follow these six steps to get hx2go working for you!

Step 1: Attend hx2go Webinars

Sign up for a free online webinar by going to the HX Training tab on training.minutemenu.com. Webinars are listed in the center of the screen. Minute Menu currently offers two different hx2go webinars. While administrators should attend both webinars, monitors only need to attend the “Entering Reviews Using hx2go” webinar.

hx2go training website webinars

The hx2go webinars are only held once each month, so don’t delay! Read more of this post

Operation Lychee

Lychee FruitHave you ever had a lychee fruit? These delicious little fruits are packed full of vitamin C and many other important vitamins and nutrients. But most importantly, they are delicious! Click here to read more about the lychee fruit and to see a picture of it on the USDA website.

Serve More Fruit, Less Juice. Fruit can be a fun and delicious way to improve nutrition in children’s diets, and you have the chance to change the lives of children in your very own community by serving more fruit. We challenge you to pick a fruit to serve at snack, and to serve fruit instead of juice at meals. Eating the actual fruit, instead of just drinking the juice, ensures that children get ALL of the nutrition of the fruit, and less sugar! Click here to read “Tips to Help You Eat Fruits” on the ChooseMyPlate.gov USDA website. Read more of this post