Smaller school districts adapting best to new lunch regulations

Some foodservice workers participated in Cook for America’s week-long Culinary Boot Camp to learn healthy techniques.

CHENEY, Wash.—Cooks hustled around the kitchen at Cheney High School on Wednesday preparing a vegetarian lunch feast: fresh salad dressings, hot potato wedges, baked macaroni and cheese, roasted cauliflower and lentil soup.

The food service workers from five small regional school districts had gathered at Cook for America’s weeklong Culinary Boot Camp where participants learn techniques to make healthy, from-scratch food at or below the same price as processed food. “We call them lunch teachers because we want to reinforce that’s what they are there to do,” said Kate Adamick, Cook for America co-founder.

From-scratch cooking has been a success in the Cheney School District. Since making the switch two years ago using a grant from Empire Health Foundation, the district has seen savings in its lunch program of about $3,200 a year and a drop in obesity rates among children. And, school officials say, kids love the food.

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The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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