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

Sodexo aims to reduce carbon emissions by 34% at its foodservice and facilities management sites by 2025, a goal it says it will reach through such changes as converting cooking oil into biodiesel fuel and using energy-efficient HVAC systems.

In announcing this endeavor toward sustainability, Sodexo—which manages more than 32,000 sites globally—noted that over 7,200 of its sites in North America recycle aluminum and paper, and 8,640 recycle cardboard.

Ideas and Innovation
rooster illustration

Sustainability is such a priority for Santa Rosa Junior College’s culinary arts program that produce often doesn’t even hit the cooler before becoming a meal. Students quickly transform the bounty of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and more, harvested from the college’s own farm, into restaurant-quality dishes at the Culinary Cafe and Bakery. They learn the basics of agriculture, practice pivoting a menu based on seasonality, and compost as they cook.

It’s little wonder the program recently placed first in the CAFE/Kendall College Green Awards: This Northern California community...

Managing Your Business
alumni worker

It’s a sure sign that a school is doing something right when its students want to come back and work as adults. From the standpoint of the foodservice director, though, there is plenty to gain from retaining homegrown talent—call it the ultimate return on investment. In the wake of back-to-school season, two dining programs with a robust alumni contingent share their thoughts on hiring former customers.

Local expertise

At Georgia Southern University, about one-third of Eagle Dining Services’ 107 full-time employees are alumni. “They way we do things on our campus may be very...

Managing Your Business
business ladder climbing illustration

Recruiting talent is only half the battle for Mike Folino, associate director of nutrition services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Once he’s attracted good employees, providing clear opportunities for advancement can help retain them—but knowing when to bring up the topic in conversation can be tricky.

Prior to hiring

Folino likes to touch on advancement during the initial interview process, but the extent to which he does so changes case by case. “I have had interviews where we knew right away that we needed to discuss our structure and...

FSD Resources