Third 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
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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