Maine children choosing healthy menu options

Students appreciate district's push toward healthy items.

March 19—Late in her sophomore year at Windham High School, Michaila Brown noticed changes in the lunchtime menu, with more healthy options offered. And that’s something Brown, now a senior, says she and her fellow students approve of and appreciate.

“It was a noticeable change,” Brown said. “Some people have been choosing salads and wraps over pizza and chicken burgers. I think it’s really helpful, helping us choose healthier food instead of having greasy pizza all the time.”

March is National Nutrition Month, promoted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. However, in the Windham-Raymond Regional School Unit14 district, which feeds an average of 1,700 students a day, directors of the school lunch program are thinking healthy every month.

What Brown noticed in her sophomore year was a concerted effort, which has only grown in intensity. A push toward whole grains, lower sodium and less processed food is afoot. Last summer, in a training session known as “boot camp,” the 25 district food service employees learned how to make new recipes for healthier lunches. Among the more popular new items are quesadillas.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources