Toronto Schools look to food literacy to save cafeterias

Program would focus on curriculum-based cafeterias.

June 22—Toronto public schools are looking at a new approach to nutrition that could make menus more student-friendly, teach more about healthy diets and let more students actually help prepare the food by focusing on food literacy.

A panel of students is prepared to give input to a planning group that includes board officials, the city’s public health department and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4400, which represents the board’s school cafeteria workers.

The committee of some 20 people began discussing this new blueprint for “food literacy” several months ago, before Toronto trustees decided June 13 to close some money-losing cafeterias. The problem has grown worse, says the Ontario Public School Boards Association, since Queen’s Park launched new healthy food guidelines last fall. As a result, young fast-food fans are going off-site for their high-calorie favorites.

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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.

The...

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