Students create healthy recipes for Culinary Arts Fair

School nutrition professionals in one rural West Virginia district wanted to do more to educate students about nutrition, recognizing that engaging with students could help the effort to lower obesity rates and improve health. Wyoming County School District‘s Director of Child Nutrition and General Wellness Programs Rhonda Thomas created a student culinary arts fair to encourage a friendly competition for students to create healthy recipes.

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Montana Made Marinara is a Hit on Lunch Menus

There were rave reviews from some young food critics when meatball subs with locally produced marinara were served at Belgrade School District #44. The sauce was made with ingredients grown on Montana farms and the initiative was started to help solve a problem brought on by supply chain shortages.  The goal was to have a product consistently available for school nutrition programs.

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Connecting Classroom to Cafeteria in CT

When a student going through the lunch line asked why there was a potato in the fruit basket, Kate Murphy, SNS, Food Service Director for Naugatuck Public Schools in Connecticut, had an “ah ha moment.” Realizing that the child didn’t recognize a pear, Murphy determined more had to be done to support nutrition education.

While researching ideas for CT Grown for CT Kids Week, Murphy identified resources available from local farmers that could be used to create lesson plans. She knew it had to be something kids would be interested in – that’s when she got her big idea: pickles!

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Lunch Participation Jumps When Students Learn About Local Ingredients

One school district increased school meal participation by educating their students about the local, healthy options they were already sourcing from local Kentucky Farmers. IMG-7308Fayette County Public School’s (FCPS) Nutrition Department (KY) worked closely with their Farm to School program to coordinate the Fayette Farm to School Challenge, a weeklong program filled with taste tests, cafeteria guests and educational programs to help increase student participation.

The Fayette Farm to School program worked to promote the educational aspect to families, students and staff, while the FCPS School Nutrition Department procured and prepared local menu items for the week. They featured recipes including cheesy chicken étouffée, an original created by District Chef Todd Gorrell, containing Kentucky sweet potatoes and butternut squash. The week also showcased how kid-favorites, like hot dogs and Sloppy Joe’s, could be made healthier, using locally-sourced produce and local farm-raised meats. Read more…

Survey Prompts Major Updates to Nutrition Program

Wayzata Public Schools (MN) nutrition professionals spent the summer of 2018 overhauling the nutrition program in the district’s Culinary Express. They created new school menus, with delicious scratch-made recipes, including homemade chicken noodle and chicken wild rice soup, vegetable lo mein, spicy black beaned burgers, baked ziti and pork carnitas burrito bowls. 

While revamping the Culinary Express website, school nutrition staff worked with a local food hub and marketing company to help provide more opportunities for nutrition education, including new graphics, cafeteria posters, food mascots, etc. The innovative changes to their school nutrition program were prompted by survey feedback from parents and staff.

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