Celebrating Food and Culinary Connections: Schools Serve up California-grown Food on “California Thursdays”

The “California Wrap”

The “California Wrap” was served at many districts across Contra Costa County, a strategy that allows them to purchase collectively on California Thursdays.

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! To celebrate this, we’re showcasing the important work of California Thursdays, a collaboration between the Center for Ecoliteracy and a network of public school districts to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown food. The following guest blog also highlights the inspiring work of the Center for Ecoliteracy, a partner with USDA’s national sodium reduction in schools-initiative, What’s Shaking? Creative Ways to Boost Flavor with Less Sodium.

By Jennifer Gerard, R.D., Center for Ecoliteracy, California Food for California Kids Program Director

What’s your favorite day of the week? For many students in California — it’s Thursday.

On Thursdays, over 1.7 million students in schools that participate in the California Thursdays program know they’ll be offered a lunch freshly prepared from California ingredients. California Thursdays is a celebration of local food, the people who produce and prepare it, and the significant connections that exist between children, food, and their environment.

California Thursdays is also a powerful tool to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, stimulate local economies, and decrease the transportation required for distribution — decreasing emissions and increasing freshness.

California Thursdays is led by the Center for Ecoliteracy, a not-for-profit which provides support, inspiration, and resources for the program. Participating school districts adopt the California Thursdays program in their own brilliant and unique ways — as you’ll see in two stories below.

Encinitas Union School District’s Farm Lab

Encinitas Union School District’s Farm Lab is a ten-acre farm and interactive learning center providing educational retreats for students and locally grown produce for school cafeterias.

Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) has taken the farm to school movement literally — by building a farm on district property. The Farm Lab serves as both an outdoor education site and a production farm — providing the district’s cafeterias with locally grown lettuces, herbs, zucchini, snap peas, celery, melons, and up to 300 pounds of tomatoes per week during peak season. While much of the harvest occurs in summer when school is out, the Child Nutrition Services team doesn’t miss a beat. They roast tomatoes, shred zucchini (with their industrial cheese grater), and freeze both for a marinara sauce to serve when students return. Herbs such as oregano, basil, and rosemary are dried over the course of several weeks, utilizing repurposed wire food-transport racks lined with parchment paper. Once dried, the herbs are coarsely ground and stored in airtight containers for use in pizza and marinara sauce. Through processes like these, EUSD is able to prepare a delicious, meaningful meal that exceeds USDA nutrition requirements for school meals and inspires change in the conventional school food system.

A tomato harvest from Farm Lab

A bountiful tomato harvest from Farm Lab, soon to become marinara sauce and devoured by students.

Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) and six neighboring school districts in Contra Costa County saw their California Thursdays kick-off in April of 2015, as the perfect opportunity to combine their purchasing power. They agreed to carry similar salad bar options and many served identical entrées, including a “California Wrap” made with California lavash (which is lower in sodium than traditional tortillas), deli turkey, and cheese. For just one day, their efforts translated in purchases of over 4,000 pounds of local produce, including 1,800 pounds of asparagus bought directly from a grower cooperative. “The coolest part,” reflects Sarah Hanson of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) “was seeing how the directors worked together and exchanged recipes…and convinced each other that it was okay to serve things like asparagus!” CDFA assisted the group with organizational support and sourcing. The group plans on continuing to collectively purchase seasonal produce in the 2016–17 school year for use in their California Thursdays meals. The effort of these harmonious school districts, guided by a statewide movement, has the potential to invest $1.2 million in Contra Costa and nearby counties and shift the landscape towards a more fruitful future for farmers and students.

A salad bar at Antioch Unified School District

A salad bar at Antioch Unified School District, in Contra Costa County, showcases the abundance of California and the celebration of California Thursdays.

For now, California Thursdays is a stepping stone to exemplary school meal programs that connect classrooms, cafeterias, and farms statewide. Maybe someday, every day will be a California Thursday.

For more information on California Thursdays, recipes featuring California foods for schools and families, and garden-based curriculum materials, visit www.californiathursdays.org.

Jennifer McNeil, Encinitas Union School District’s Director of Nutrition Services

Jennifer McNeil, Encinitas Union School District’s Director of Nutrition Services, displays the delicious lettuce varieties grown by Farm Lab and served on the district’s salad bars.

Summer Meals: Fueling Children and Teens to Reach Their Highest Potential

Under Secretary Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon with children

For more than 40 years, USDA has been committed to closing the food security gap that occurs in the summer months when children no longer have access to the nutritious meals they’re offered in school.

As I travel across the country visiting our nation’s summer meals sites, I am proud of the commitment we’ve collectively made to nourish both the bodies and minds of our country’s children and teens. Schools, recreation centers, places of worship, libraries and other community sites have generously opened their doors to ensure kids receive healthy, balanced meals during the summer months – a time when many low-income families struggle to provide their children nutritious meals and snacks each and every day.

At USDA we’ve long recognized summer as a vulnerable time for kids and have been focused on closing the food security gap that occurs during the months when school is out of session.  Since 2009, more than 1.2 billion meals have been served through the Summer Meal Programs, fueling kids and teens throughout the summer and helping to ensure they are healthy and ready to learn when the school year begins.

In support of these same goals, the White House announced earlier this year the Summer Opportunity Project, a multi-agency initiative to expand opportunities for young people through the summer.  The initiative aims to increase the participation of youth in evidence-based summer opportunity programs and make sure young Americans have the support they need to get their first job.

USDA’s Summer Meal Programs play an important role in achieving this mission. By ensuring the most basic need of good nutrition is met, kids and teens in eligible communities can more easily pursue and leverage summer opportunities.  Many sites offer not only healthy meals and snacks, but also host physical and enrichment activities to keep kids engaged and coming back day after day.  By including free and low-cost activities into Summer Meal Programs, sites boost attendance and make the meal service more fun for children, their families, and volunteers.  To support these efforts, this spring USDA published Summer Food, Summer Moves to help sites and sponsors offer ideas on engaging kids, teens, and their families.

Increasing the number of meals served through the Summer Meal Programs has been a rewarding achievement during my time at FNS, as each meal served elevates the life of a child or teen in our country.   With the help of our creative and hardworking volunteers, sponsors and partners, we were able to serve more than 190 million meals last summer.  Groups like Fuel Up to Play 60, Feeding America, Catholic Charities, United Way, and First Book have all played a key part in providing access to summer meals for children living in areas with high food insecurity.  Engaging the community in summer meals is also integral to the success of the program.  These programs allow communities to take a lead role in preventing hunger and focus their efforts where there is increased need.

To locate a summer meal site near you, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

Do you want information about Cafeteria Point of sale Software for coffee shops Contact us right now!

Wordware, Inc. Cafeteria Point of sale Software system  can provide your business affordable, scalable, robust and customizable systems with touch screen hardware.

The ability to also put in a concession stand, snack bar, coffee shop or any counter service restaurant is also a standard option with any Wordware CafeteriaPoint of sale Software system purchased. POS Software for Cafeteria’s and Salad Bars leverages over 25 years of POS software development and experience to empower your business with a wide array of customizable features and functionalities giving your business a competitive edge and allows your business to deliver a enhanced customer experience. Cafeteria Point of sale Software platform or act as a standalone fast and seamless management software servicing many small to large corporate facilities seeking to internally track and manage these services to employees or to the public

We can help you realize how your business can utilize the affordable, feature rich, award Point of sale Software system, will provide your Cafeteria or Salad Bar the ability for fast service and the tools to manage and market your business. Manage and bill all employees Cafeteria POS Software for Cafteria’s and Salad Bars can provide you increased sale growth, cash flow and profits!

If you are integrating us with a Grocery Store, Market or adding to your current Wordware Point of sale Software platform remembers any restaurant situation, Salad Bar or Cafeteria there is always a wealth of information in the customer data base that comes standard with every Wordware’s Cafeteria Point of sale Software system.
1000’s of reports come standard with every Wordware’s Point of sale Software system for specialty food stores.  Run any report for a sale, inventory total sales by department. A robust customer database, customer loyalty, email and direct mail marketing features along with real time inventory are all standard in any Wordware’s Cafeteria Point of sale Software Cafeteria’s and Salad Bars.

Cafeteria POS: Your Schools Need Point of Sale Systems, Wordware’s LCS 1000 Mayflower is best choice.

“Do you need a POS system for your cafeteria?”

This is a question many school administrators have asked recently as they review their technology budgets. The answer to the question is probably “yes,” because school cafeteria POS systems offer a variety of advantages not afforded by traditional electronic cash registers. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

 Cafeteria POS systems speed up service

Students at K-12 schools typically have a very short window of time in which to purchase and eat their lunch, while those enrolled at colleges and universities are often on tight schedules between classes. With such features as custom screen layouts, quick card processing (“smart cards” for K-12 students and meal cards and/or credit and debit cards at the secondary level), and packaged commands, school cafeteria POS systems keep lines moving, ensuring that students consistently enjoy as much time as possible to consume their food.

Cafeteria POS systems improve inventory management

Cafeterias cater to hundreds or even thousands of students daily, meaning that they must manage a very sizeable inventory of perishable and non-perishable food and beverage items. They must ensure that they have sufficient quantities of ingredients and food on hand at all times, and that these items haven’t expired. Some schools must also follow federal guidelines that dictate which items they can and cannot serve, and to whom.

A cafeteria POS system with an inventory management module makes it easier for schools to rise to these challenges. Cafeteria administrators and other appropriate personnel can calculate food costs by recipe and, through usage reports, get a firm handle on inventory in stock. This permits shortages and overages to be addressed proactively, eliminating waste and ensuring that food is used by its expiration date.

The inventory management component of the cafeteria POS system can also be programmed to generate orders only when item levels have been depleted to a certain threshold, and to prevent the processing of orders that don’t meet certain parameters. Consequently, cafeterias are assured of having the right quantities of the right ingredients at the appropriate time. Waste is minimized, and adherence to all purchasing guidelines becomes the norm.

Cafeteria POS systems make for happier parents and students

Busy parents can forget to give their children lunch money. Occasionally, they can even find themselves ready to send their children to school, only to discover that they have no cash for lunch. By contrast, in schools with cafeteria POS systems, parents can simply load money onto students’ prepaid cards once a month (or in some districts, once a week). Parents are happy because there is no need to scramble for coins and bills every day, and children are happy because they no longer need to skip lunch or borrow money from a friend.

Additionally, some cafeteria POS systems give parents an extra measure of control over which food items their children can and cannot buy in the school cafeteria. In these cases, student profiles are maintained in a database and, because of an interface with the POS, cashiers cannot process the purchase of any item a parent has deemed “forbidden.” This system allows parents to do payment for the entire family through one student.  Wordare, Inc. provides e-Funds For Schools to allow families to choose a couple of different online payment options for student lunch accounts. Parents may choose to have payments automatically withdrawn electronically from your checking account or charged to your credit card. There is a convenience fee for using this program.

 

The benefits of cafeteria POS systems far outweigh the initial cost, making them a worthwhile investment for any school, K-12 or secondary.

Why do I need a LCS account?

Our easy to use features make managing your family’s school lunch accounts easy! Don’t have a family account yet?

Create a free account for your family today to take advantage of our online services.

Click here to begin our quick and easy registration

Why do I need a LCS account?

Our easy to use features make managing your family’s school lunch accounts easy!

And more!

 

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria business. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions. POS system that will simplify order-taking, offer detailed sales and inventory tracking, and make managing your employees and customers a breeze.

Wordware partner with Efunds, Convenient Payments, EduTrak Software, FEEZEE For Schools accepts payments at any time for unlimited school services from multiple payment platforms. The convenience and flexibility of e-Funds For Schools will help to eliminate last minute check writing hassles and improve efficiencies with your student lunch account. Plus, you will no longer need to worry that your children could lose or forget the money intended for deposit in the school lunch program.

Contact
 Us.

Corporate Headquarters:
Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr:
Mendota Heights, MN 55120;
Email: sales@wordwareinc.com
www.wordwareinc.com
call us at (800) 955-2649

Wordware, Inc. Announced That the Company Has Entered Into an Exclusive Partnership With FEEZEE

Wordware, Inc.  announced that the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with FEEZEE for proving online payment options to its clients in global market.

Wordware’s robust, reliable, and feature-rich School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000. FEEZEE is an integrated software platform that manages online payment features in many ways, its single high-security platform for any kind of business. FEEZEE allows end-users to control, manage, monitor, pay safely, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. Secure payment processing on any device from a leading credit card payment processor.

Wordware’s School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000  are designed to integrate seamlessly with current systems, ensuring that existing credentials, readers, and user databases can be retained. The Wordware DataBridge is designed integrate data across multiple software applications within a School District. Our Databridge allows software applications to send information back and forth. The DataBridge allows each of these programs or portals to send information back and forth. With the DataBridge, a school does not need to maintain multiple databases of the same student list, they can maintain one and sync the rest with databridge.

Currently the LCS mayflower works seamlessly with hundreds of Student Information Systems. Many of our customers use Synergy, Infinite Campus, Power School, JMC, Skyward and more. The DataBridge has worked with every SIS that we have encountered.

  • Eliminate the need to maintain multiple databases
  • Maintain one database and sync the rest
  • One to many and many to one
  • Facilitate information for multiple departments within the district

“Wordware is excited to announce our partnership with FEEZEE, our exclusive online payment partner for School Lunch Software Solutions all over country,” said Manager  “We truly appreciate FEEZEE’s  expertise and are eager to support their growing channel partner network.  FEEZEE’s solutions, local knowledge, and experience complement our physical access product offerings for the market.

Under this best-of-breeds partnership, Wordware’s School lunch software platform is integrated with online payment gateway. FeeZee helps manage personnel access, online account management, credit card payment  etc. Wordware and FEEZEE will target customers in all kind of schools. These high customers require custom School Lunch Software with  policies that suit their individual needs and hassle-free deployments with seamless integration between software, hardware, and policies. • Easy online application • No complicated software to set up • No software or annual license fees FEEZEE Provides: • Secure, online payment processing from any mobile or internet capable device • Flexible payment options for your customers • An intuitive, easy to use interface • Reporting to help you manage payments • Customer receipts

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria sector. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, is the market leader in online Lunch payment system, most of the schools saves time and money using our unique and techno advance Lunch payment application software.  Lunch system makes your school to monitor money administration easier and will reduce time spent on managing the school meal service. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions.

Contact Us. Corporate Headquarters: Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr: Mendota Heights, MN 55120; Email: Sales Information: sales@wordwareinc.com www.wordwareinc.com  call us at (800) 955-2649

About FEEZEE

FEEZEE is an easy to use payment processing solution that allows you to process credit cards, debit cards and ACH transactions with a simple interface launched right from your web site. FEEZEE does all the heavy lifting of payment processing so you can focus on the things you need to do to make your business successful. Don’t get bogged down with setting up merchant accounts, creating reports and managing software, let FEEZEE handle it and start accepting online payments today.

Solutions available for education and businesses that need to process payments electronically.Why FEEZEE? It’s easy. Contact sales@fee-zee.com, or call us at 844-5-FEEZEE (844-533-3933) for more information visit www.fee-zee.com

Changes coming to National School Lunch Program, will affect local students

The Education and Workforce Committee approved a bill to change the way the National School Lunch Program works.

However, the bill will still need a full House vote.

Right now, through a measure called community eligibility, a school’s entire student body is eligible for free lunches if at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In Cleveland City Schools, all students eat for free – but that will change, and principal Mike Collier says – that’s disappointing.

“It’s going to impact us. I mean, there’s no way that it wouldn’t,” he said.

Right now, if 40 percent of students live in poverty, in a specific school, that school qualified for free meals for all students, paid for by the federal government.

The bill will increase that to 60 percent, meaning Cleveland Middle wouldn’t apply anymore.

Administrators at Cleveland City Schools, like Supervisor of Child Nutrition, Susan Miller, says they’ve known about since January.

“You cannot teach a hungry child. And, so, that’s what we’re here for is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to be prepared to learn everyday,” she said.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a D.C. think- tank, says millions of children across the U.S., and here in our area, are at risk of losing meal access.

The measure could potentially put students in some of the country’s poorest communities at risk for missing meals.

Principal Collier says the school system will do what they can to prevent this from happening.

“Kids are our number one priority. And one way or another – we’re gonna make sure that they have the opportunity to eat breakfast, and we’re gonna make sure they have the opportunity to eat lunch regardless of who they are and what the circumstances are,” he said.

The sponsor of the bill, Representative Todd Rokita, wants the eligibility to change to 60 percent because, he says, they’ll be able to provide summer meals and better breakfasts for those most in need.

But, opponents say some students who do qualify won’t apply because of the social stigma associated with free and reduced lunch.



The Importance of the Point of Sale (POS) System

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Point of Sale (POS) equipment is the computer-based order-entry technology many restaurants use to capture orders, record data and display or print tickets. Restaurant servers, bartenders and cashiers can all use POS systems to easily enter food and beverage orders.

POS Capabilities

The POS acts as a cash register as well as a computer. In fact, the POS can consist of multiple stations, including credit card terminals, receipt printers, display screens, hostess stations and server stations. Having a POS system in place can add convenience, accuracy and save time in busy situations. In fact, is has the ability to perform a multitude of functions, including the following:

  • Calculate cash due for every order entered
  • Record the method of payment
  • Keep track of the cash in the cash drawer
  • Create hourly and daily sales reports
  • Allow hourly employees to clock in and out
  • Calculate labor and payroll data
  • Record daily check averages for each worker
  • Keep track of menu items sold
  • Record information on repeat customers

How Employees Use POS Systems

Keep in mind that some systems work differently than others. User processes will be different depending on restaurant type and service style. The following steps represent the general process of taking an order with a POS system:

  1. The employee enters in his or her name or user code into the initial touch screen. This allows the worker to access the system.
  2. The employee begins a new order or check by entering in food items the customer orders. For full service restaurants, the employee is also able to choose a table number and add food to an existing check.
  3. The POS sends this all order information to the kitchen or bar in the form of a printed ticket or on a digital display monitor.
  4. The kitchen or bar employees read the order and make the appropriate food or beverage for the waitstaff or other employee to serve the customer.
  5. In a quick-service restaurant, the employee will read the total charge on the POS display, and collect payment from the customer. In full service, the server will bring a check, wait for payment, then enter it into the POS when the customers are finished.

Where to Set Up the POS

Touch screens can be located in many different places around the restaurant, depending on the layout and the service style. For quick-service or fast-casual restaurants, the POS systems are usually located in a visible place, often close to the front doors of the restaurant. In a full service restaurant, the POS is usually located in a discreet location so as not to interfere with the ambience or the dining experience.

Advantages of Digital Display Systems

Modern POS systems, especially those in large chain restaurants, have digital display components. Technically called kitchen display systems, also known as KDS screens or “bump screens,” the order pops up with clear information as to what food was requested, the time the order was placed, the table number and the server name. When the food is prepared and finished, the kitchen worker will hit a button on the screen, effectively “bumping” it from view and recording the time it was finished. This is an especially effective way to stay organized, communicate the status of orders, and record speed of service information.

Specific POS Configurations

You should purchase a POS for your specific restaurant type, especially if your operation has any special requirements. However, the software can typically be configured to your exact operation specifications such as your restaurant menu items and prices.

Use Your POS to Gather Marketing Data

The POS has the ability to record phone numbers, email addresses or order information, such check average per table or party size. The POS can build a database of customer information. Later, in your direct marketing campaigns, you can use this information to personalize your promotions and tailor them to specific types of customers.

What to Look for in a POS System

Every POS system differs based on its software, hardware and application. When looking for a POS system, do some research online and check out several different companies. You can even request a demo from a salesperson. Make sure the POS system you choose is one that fits your restaurant concept, service style and business needs. After all, this software can take a big bite out of your budget. When choosing the right POS system for your operation, be sure to consider the following:

  • Price and quality.

Before you buy, make sure you know your business volume and system needs so you know your money is appropriately spent. POS software can cost $2,000 or more, and the terminals themselves can be up to $5,000 per station. Extra features and add-on options like digital displays or hand-held terminals usually add dollars as well. Warranties can add yet another yearly cost. Always ask sales representatives for price quotes, including all hardware, installation, software upgrades and support before deciding if a POS system is for you.

  • Necessary hardware components.

Make sure you purchase both the hardware and the software for the POS system. Hardware includes the touch screen monitor to place at the point of sale—usually at the service counter, behind the bar or at the waiter station. Hardware also includes any necessary network servers, customer display equipment, kitchen display systems and even portable terminals and handheld devices.

  • Software to track data.

Software includes all the programs you need for the point of sale, back of the house financial and inventory reports, gift card capabilities and even customer self-service. Software can even use labor data to help you create employee schedules, making a tedious task less time-consuming.
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  • Financial reporting capabilities.

Make sure that your POS software allows you to retrieve your financial information in detailed, coherent reports, ideally on the back of the house (BOH) terminal where you can properly analyze the information.

  • User friendliness.

A POS system that is confusing or requires extensive training may not be worth the hassle. Not only will it frustrate employees but it will slow down speed of service for customers. Also, be sure the orders are easy to read and understand. In a busy kitchen, there is no time for mistakes.

  • Technical support.

It is not a matter of if there will be a problem, but when there will be a problem with your POS system. Hopefully the problem will be minor, but just in case, it helps to know that you have experienced technicians available to help in times of crisis.

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Changes for Reduced Price School Lunches Students who are reduced-price eligible will receive both breakfast and lunch at no charge this school year due to a bill passed in the legislature. Effective with the new school year, families will no longer pay the 40¢ lunches

School Nutrition Programs

There are two programs available to support meals and snacks in public as well as private non-profit schools:

  • The National School Lunch Program

    This program, which has been in existence since 1946, provides reimbursement for lunches served to students enrolled in twelfth grade and under in public and private, non-profit schools. Reimbursement is provided at three levels: free, reduced price, and full price (or paid). Families may submit applications to receive free or reduced price meal benefits.

    Because the program is a federal entitlement program, meaning that the government guarantees that all program meals properly claimed for reimbursement each month will be reimbursed, there are extensive regulations governing most aspects of program operations in order to assure that meals claimed for reimbursement are truly eligible for payment. At the federal level the program is administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    In addition to federal reimbursement schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program also receive a State Match payment once a year and receive federally-provided commodity foods as well. In general, these commodities represent 10-12% of foods used in school meals programs. The remainder are purchased through regular supply channels.

    In Vermont, the state legislature passed Act 22 in 2003 which requires that public schools participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program unless the school board, at an annual or regularly warned meeting, holds a public discussion of the program and subsequently votes to exempt the district from the requirement.

  • The School Breakfast Program

    This program, which has been in existence since the mid-1960’s, provides reimbursement for breakfasts served to students in twelfth grade or under in public and private, non-profit schools. Reimbursement is provided at three levels: free, reduced price, and full price (or paid). Families may submit applications to receive free or reduced price meal benefits. Families do not have to submit separate applications for free school lunch and breakfast.

    In addition to federal reimbursements, schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program receive a State Match payment once a year.

Additional Resources

Policy & Administration

(e.g., program application & renewal, food safety, food service contracts, wellness policies)

New School Cuisine – Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks

Here is our latest resource to help schools meet the new USDA meals pattern and use fresh and local products in school meals. A collaborative effort between Vermont Agency of Education, Vermont FEED, School Nutrition Association of Vermont, New England Culinary Institute, many local schools, and with the support of Team Nutrition Grant funds, this group created, tested and standardized over 75 recipes that are presented in this book. Give the recipes a try, offer taste tests to your students, and introduce these beautiful and delicious foods to your menus! Bon Appetite. Cookbooks will be distributed to each school along with the Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness & Nutrition guide that helps schools programs incorporate nutrition education physical activity in their schools and classrooms.

Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness and Nutrition

Promising Practices – Serving up a School Culture of Health, Wellness and Nutrition provides lessons learned and recommendations for how to create a school culture that values the important role healthy food, nutrition education and physical activity play in education. Schools play an important role in promoting student health and combating the rising rates of obesity and diet-related illness among children. This effort begins in the cafeteria – the largest classroom in the school – by serving healthy meals and continues by addressing nutrition, health and fitness as part of the overall education of students. This approach requires collaboration among food service staff, teachers, school nurses, physical education teachers, and administrators to bolster food, nutrition, and physical activity choices and educational opportunities that can have lasting impacts on students’ health and ability to learn. This booklet outlines the Nutrition Education Institute model as a process that works to support improving the school health and nutrition environment in schools.

School Nutrition Programs Update

Funding Available


The National School Lunch Program – pros, cons, and how to get your kids eating healthier

The National School Lunch Program’s supplies meals for over 21 million low-income, food insecure children around the country. For many, it is the only meal they will eat all day, so the USDA created specific guidelines to ensure these students are receiving the most nutritious meal possible.

New Standards for School Lunches

The latest federal program concerning standards for school meals is the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. In its original form, the law authorized the funds to extend current child nutrition programs and free lunch programs for 5 years; updated the nutritional standards to include more whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean protein; and gave the USDA authority over schools’ nutritional standards and regulations.

Plenty of criticism has been leveled at the one-size fits all nature of the law as well as the ability of the government to dictate lunch options. The School Nutrition Association, a corporate sponsored group, has been the most vocal opponent of the act, saying that districts are unable to meet the guidelines and that students are throwing the healthier food away. Despite these claims, a Food Resource and Action Center study found that the low-income students who are the focus of the National School Lunch Program are receiving more benefits from the new law, and the USDA reports that 95% of schools have been able to meet the program requirements.

It is possible to get students to eat healthier foods. Schools who have successfully implemented healthier options have done so by slowly introducing these items to students, introducing wheat bread one day and a new vegetable a few weeks later. If no one introduces today’s kids to whole grains, different fruits and veggies, and new foods, the odds of them trying anything new greatly diminishes as they grow older. If we roll back efforts to introduce kids to healthier foods, we will leave our next generation at a serious disadvantage.

Food Education

Yes, schools have a responsibility to feed their students a healthy lunch. In a perfect world, school lunches wouldn’t require students to drink low fat milk and to prioritize grains rather than promoting the lush nutrition and healing power of vegetables and fruits.

Food education is often ignored. We have found that many young students can’t even identify common vegetables. But education can make a big difference in the quality of food a child chooses and their willingness to try new foods. How many of the schools serving local food are telling the students what they are doing and what the benefits are? Teaching children how to cook fresh food and how to plant and tend a school garden lays a foundation of healthier attitudes toward food and nutrition. But why should our schools be the only ones introducing children to healthy foods and teaching them how to eat?

Learning about food and healthy eating starts at home. There are so many ways you can get your kids excited about eating fruits and veggies and teach them how to be lifelong healthy eaters and by extension enjoy a much better quality of life. The earlier you can introduce your little one to healthy foods, the better. But even if your children have already been introduced to some of our more unsavory food items, here are some tips you can use to turn Mr. Chicken Nuggets and Pizza Girl into kale fiends:

  • Let them cook with you. Even if something is ghastly, kids are much more likely to try it and like it if they are the ones who put in the work.
  • Smoothies are a great way to slowly introduce veggies to resistant kids. A great nutrition powder can be a great addition to those.
  • Turn your little one into a gardener. Gardening will get them outside, teach them patience and responsibility, and get them excited about what they’ve created.
  • Keep offering new foods. Maybe the cauliflower wasn’t successful last time, but that’s no reason not to try it again later.
  • Lastly, be the example! This is so important, because kids are naturally interested in what adults are doing. If your little one sees you snacking on and enjoying carrots and kale chips, they are that much more likely to have positive association and be willing to try them.

Here’s an ultra healthy smoothie that’s kid approved: http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com. For more information on healthy eating, check out the first two sources below.

Sources:

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/issue/11-80-raw-food-diet/

http://www.thelunchtray.com

http://www.npr.org

http://frac.org

http://www.fns.usda.gov

http://www.fns.usda.gov

About the author:
Kristina works at Green Lifestyle Market. A few years ago Kristina was no stranger to illness, but she decided to pursue health and vitality through natural means when she became pregnant. She quickly learned that she could prevent morning sickness and other common ailments other pregnant woman experienced with the right diet. After a healthy home birth, and a beautiful child, she never looked back. Kristina has not had so much as a cold since, and at two years old and unvaccinated, neither has her child. She’s passionate about natural health, environmental conservation, and raising her healthy baby without pharmaceuticals.

How to Reinvent the School Lunch and Get Kids to Eat Better