Idaho DOE Creates Healthy Cookbook

The 54-page healthy cookbook contains 10 unique and fun recipes.

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

The Idaho Department of Education (DOE) has worked with a chef/dietitian to create a cookbook of healthy recipes for school foodservice directors to use. “Chef Designed School Lunch” was launched in April and presented at the School Nutrition Association’s conference in Kansas City in July.

According to Colleen Fillmore, Ph.D., director of child nutrition programs for the DOE, the book was an outgrowth of a program begun by the department last year. The program, called Chef Tuesdays, brought Chef Brenda Thompson, R.D., to Liberty Charter School in Nampa, where Thompson worked with foodservice employees to develop and taste test healthy recipes.

“The recipes went over very well with the students we tested,” Fillmore says. “We were able to secure a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to turn those recipes into a cookbook that has been made available to all school districts in the state.”

The 54-page oversize booklet contains 10 recipes, such as Cheeseburger Salad Wrap, Thai Chicken and Basil Barley, Mozzarella Crusted Pollock and Mandarin Chicken Rice Bowl. Each menu section offers not only the recipe and a photo but also nutritional information, how students rated each item and what they said about the item. Fillmore notes that the recipes are also designed to make the best use of a wide variety of USDA foods. She says that each recipe uses of four to nine USDA foods, and the 10 recipes provide school districts with a two-week cycle menu.

“Working with the schools was a really great experience for me,” says Thompson, who has worked with three other Idaho districts—Kamiah, McCall-Donnelly and Preston—in a similar fashion as part of the program. “The kids are so honest. They tell you exactly what they think and that’s refreshing. I learned a lot and I think the kids really enjoyed being part of the development process.” 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Chefs at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., participated in plant-based food training earlier this month as part of an effort to introduce more vegetarian, vegan and allergen-free dishes on campus, The Daily Evergreen Reports.

Over two days, chefs worked in pairs with plant-based ingredients to create new dishes such as vegan pizza, cauliflower fried rice and vegetable wellington.

Washington State’s dining services said it hopes to expand the presence of plant-based dishes throughout all campus dining halls as student demand rises, noting that items with animal...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

FSD Resources