"All over the region, little pockets of activity are coalescing into a collaborative Food Revolution a la Jamie Oliver, the British chef who champions healthier food in schools and elsewhere. Last fall at the One Young World conference held here, he challenged Pittsburgh to revamp its eating habits -- and Pittsburgh's delegates took him seriously."More info
While the district had been working to instill healthy eating habits among students and staff for a decade, school administrators formalized the effort in 2010 by setting higher nutrition standards. The challenges they faced included limited vendor options for whole-grain products; inadequate storage for additional fresh fruits and vegetables; and overall increases in meal preparation time, as they used fewer processed foods.
Some of the Solutions
Cafeteria staff estimated that increasing the variety of fruit and vegetables added 30 to 60 minutes of labor per day. Food service staff now keeps labor costs manageable by adjusting menus to balance healthy options with efficient preparation. When menus include a fresh-cut item (e.g., oranges, apples), staff pairs it with a whole fruit or another side requiring minimum labor (e.g., frozen broccoli). To maintain sufficient storage for the increased volume, produce deliveries are scheduled for twice a week. Staff also closely monitors food preparation and student consumption to avoid over-production and minimize waste, which helps offset the higher costs of whole-grain products.
Measures of Success
The schools now serve a different fruit and vegetable each day of the week; three to five are fresh, with many being seasonal and locally grown. School nutrition administrators estimate consumption of fruit has increased by 40 percent and vegetable consumption by 30 percent. The numbers also indicate that the changes have not impacted the school's revenue. School lunch participation held steady during the 2010-11 school year, while breakfast participation rose by 5 percent.
Snacks and Beverages
To supplement the changes taking place in the cafeteria, school administrators eliminated sugar-sweetened beverages from school vending machines. They now serve only water and 100 percent fruit juices. Alternative fundraisers, such as t-shirt sales during homecoming and sports team play-offs, have offset the lost vending revenue.
The #1 Lesson Learned
Carrollton City administrators and food service staff agree that buy-in from all staff members, including teachers, has been fundamental to the district’s success. Establishing a team approach among school administrators, teachers, and cafeteria staff was a critical first step.
Read more "School Food Success Stories" from school districts across the nation.
- Date added:
- Dec 19, 2012
"With childhood obesity — and other health issues and nutrition requirements — increasing in schools, Williamsburg-James City County is focusing on providing nutritious meals to students."More info
"Representatives from National Food Group handed out samples of what could be on next year’s menu. Students sampled beef barbacoa with roasted vegetables, whole grain cheese ravioli with chunky marinara sauce and baked cod filet. Other items were cranberry oatmeal bars and breakfast items oatmeal chocolate vertical bars and berry apple crisp vertical bar."More info
Jessica Donze Black, director of the Pew Kids' Safe & Healthful Foods Project, speaks with Education Week about a bipartisan bill that would provide money for school kitchen upgrades.More info
Jessica Donze Black, project director for Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, is featured in Time magazine article about healthy school lunches.More info
"Recent changes to the federal school lunch program require more fresh fruits and vegetables to be served, but many schools in Iowa and across the country lack the fridge space needed to store large quantities of fresh produce, the Republican lawmaker said."More info
Jessica Donze Black, Pew’s expert on childhood nutrition, issued the following statement on the School Food Modernization Act.More info
"The USDA is updating the existing nutritional food standards set in 1979, which will require all snack foods sold in public schools to meet new health standards."More info
"Marty Tatara has succeeded with 'Six Cent For Child' certification, which will increase federal funding for nutrition in Madison City Schools."More info
"Orange County Public Schools are continuing to offer up a host of different lunch options to students throughout the county, expanding their taste buds through different food choices."More info
"High school students don't need to have access to caffeine on campus. Snacks sold at elementary and middle schools shouldn't have as many calories as those sold at high schools. And maybe schools shouldn't have vending machines or a la carte lunch lines at all."More info
In the absence of a national policy, school snack food standards vary by state. Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, speaks with The Washington Post about this issue.More info
Jessica Donze Black, director of the Pew's kids' safe and Healthful foods project speaks with the Los Angeles Times about a loophole in the USDA's new competitive foods rules that would allow junk food to be served in school cafeterias.More info