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

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.

“Getting food managers to eat three meals of hospital food a day for a week brought the point home that much of the food being served was bland, institutional and not what people would normally eat,” Director of Food Services Kevin Peters told Ottawa...

Industry News & Opinion

With overtime pay likely to become a reality for some salaried foodservice employees after Dec. 1, operators are rethinking what they expect managers to do off-site as part of their responsibilities. Answering email or scheduling shifts at home didn’t matter when the employees were exempted from overtime if they earned more than $23,660 per year. But with that threshold more than doubling on Dec. 1 to $47,476, a half hour spent here and there on administrative tasks could push a salaried manager over the 40-hours-per-week threshold and entitle him or her to overtime. And how does the...

Menu Development
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.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

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