School officials try healthier cafeteria options

Some new featured items include bean burgers, pre-sliced veggie packets and peanut butter substitutes.

BOSTON— Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates — without turning off sometimes-finicky students.

"I have my work cut out for me," said Sara Gasiorowski, who was among the roughly 6,500 people attending a conference for school nutrition professionals at the convention center.

A director of food services for the school district in Wayne Township, Indiana, she was looking for healthy, affordable breakfast options as her district expects higher dairy and produce costs.

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From Mrs. Dash Foodservice.

There was a time when healthy food meant counting calories, omitting carbs, giving up sugar and going fat-free—in other words, it was all about deprivation.

But not anymore. Today’s definition of healthy means an overall focus on nutrition and wellness that doesn’t mean giving up enjoyment. It’s all about balance: good fats, healthy carbs, better sweeteners, wholesome ingredients and satisfying flavor enhancements. It means food that customers can feel good about, at the same time that they’re enjoying the dining experience.

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Ideas and Innovation
borscht bowl

We do a monthly Meal In The Life, where residents of different cultures serve as our ambassadors and help coordinate the program. A couple of months ago it was Russia. We had a Russian-themed menu and a resident ambassador who got to wear a button and talk about the culture. We do an hors d’oeuvres session and a food demo, followed by a full-blown meal the next day in our dining room. The servers wear something special, and we have special music.

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