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

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

FSD Resources