Houston district stays ahead of curve on healthy lunches

Whole grains and reduced salt are key factors of meals.

April 19—With school lunches shaping up across the country due to new federal guidelines, Spring Independent School District is staying ahead of the curve by offering menus with plenty of healthy options.

At Spring ISD, all the bread products are whole-grain—from the pizza crusts to the dinner rolls. All of the flavored milks are fat-free, and regular milk is only offered at 1 percent. Salt has almost been eliminated from all recipes, and fresh fruits and vegetables are the focus.

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The menu served at Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, is headed for an overhaul after its CEO and management team ate a strict hospital food diet for a week and were unhappy with their options. The foodservice department has been fielding patient complaints for years, but decided to take action after facing the issue head on.

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frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

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What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

FSD Resources