HISD dietitian earns School Nutrition Specialist credential

Elementary students may know her as the Lunch Lady – the lovable storybook character who serves up lunch with a side of justice. But Nan Cramer takes school lunches and good nutrition seriously.

Cramer, a registered dietitian with HISD’s Nutrition Services, recently earned certification as a school nutrition specialist. She received the credentials last month after taking a comprehensive credentialing exam administered by the School Nutrition Association, a national industry association that supports schools with professional development and other programs.

“I feel like I now have a good understanding of how everything works in all of the departments here and how it all fits together,” Cramer said. “It really helped me understand the big picture and how the different groups depend on each other.”

Cramer put in extra effort to learn about all aspects of school nutrition programs, including operations, facility technology, equipment management, production, inventory and procurement, food sanitation and safety, and financial administration.

“I’m really proud of Nan, her initiative, and all the hard work she put into earning this credential,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said. “People don’t realize the complexities that go with working in a school lunch program. There is a lot to know, and this credential shows that she has that in-depth understanding.”

Cramer also works with other HISD dietitians to ensure school menus meet government nutritional standards, trains school-based staff, and mentors college interns working toward dietetic degrees.

Cramer said one of her favorite parts of her job is community outreach and speaking to stakeholders about HISD’s meal programs.

“I like representing the district out in the public,” she said. “People are often surprised to hear about everything that goes into preparing school lunches, and I get to brag on all the good things HISD is doing.”