Dallas schools seek upgrades to entice healthier eating habits

Dallas Independent School District has improved about 90 kitchens in the last few years.

DALLAS—Industrial blenders mix up smoothies for students in New York while some schools in California are adding salad bars. In Dallas, campus cafeterias use pass-through coolers and warmers to make sure the food is just right before it's served.

School districts across the country have made such upgrades in recent years as a way to entice children into healthier eating habits amid higher nutrition standards.

But paying for the makeovers poses a challenge for many districts, as heavy demand for a limited amount of federal money means schools must fund the projects on their own. Some have made gradual improvements, while others passed the bulk of the tab to taxpayers through large bond packages.

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Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

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