Second Annual "The Best..."

Health & Wellness

Use of “stealth health” in our operation
Cisco cafés nationwide introduced a new turkey burger. It consists of ground turkey, quinoa, spinach and seasonings. Not only is it much healthier, but it also appeals to our gluten-free guests.
—Cara Brechler, marketing manager for Bon Appétit, Cisco, Milpitas, Calif.

The best healthy dessert we’ve developed
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. The recipe actually came from Hardin County, Ky. We eventually made the recipe whole grain, although it already had oats in it. The ingredients also include dried cranberries. It is made at our central kitchen and it was “named” by our maintenance supervisor there. We have had a difficult time getting affordable dried cranberries lately, but when we menu it the kids like it.
—Julia Bauscher, director of child nutrition services, Jefferson County Schools, Louisville, Ky.

Healthy tweak to a traditional menu item we’ve made in the past year
We make a peanut butter banana vegan cupcake with peanut butter frosting that is really delicious. It has about half of the fat content as many of our other cupcakes.
—Todd Christopherson, dining manager, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Wellness promotion we’ve done in the past year
Foodservice employees did a walking across Oregon promotion where they wore pedometers and earned prizes as incentives. We encouraged participants to walk 50,000 steps per week to make it across the state in 10 weeks.
—Gitta Grether-Sweeney, director of nutrition services, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Ore.

The best wellness program I’ve seen
Apollo Group in Phoenix’s Healthy Living Revolution. It is an employee-driven, grassroots wellness program that is far more effective, in terms of both participation and ROI. I really like what our LifeWorks culinary team—in conjunction with the corporate team from Apollo—is doing to promote healthy eating, education and exercise. One of the things being done is Eat with Joe. Joe is the president and COO. Eat with Joe was a concept that allows customers to eat healthy each day by essentially eating what Joe eats, or Joe’s Pick—and essentially losing weight as Joe did since he ate Joe’s Pick every day. There is a sign above the destination for that day that is showcasing Joe’s Pick.
—Steve Norgren, vice president of business development, Aramark Business Services, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Outside resource for wellness I’ve used
The California Food Policy Advocates in Oakland. They have really nice staff who are always available to help and are full of knowledge.
—Billy Reid, director of child nutrition services, Salida Union School District, Salida, Calif.

The Best_Cooks Corner Healthy menu item we serve
We started incorporating a tofu option into our Cook’s Corner station in our retail operation. The Cook’s Corner features a chef preparing meals to order Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We offer tofu as a meat substitute on almost all of our offerings. For example, if we are serving chicken Caesar salads made to order we offer tofu as a substitute for the chicken. Out of 200 orders we do approximately 40 tofu substitutions. Some other entrées we offer tofu as a substitute are gyros, Buffalo chicken wrap, ancho chicken salad and many more.
—Greg Merkle, manager of food and nutrition services, Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, N.J.

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More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

FSD Resources