When students at Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia step into the cafeteria, they get a lesson on good nutrition. The School Nutrition Services Department has been working for years to make school meals more nutritious by taking kid favorites and giving them a healthy make over. Our pizza is made with a whole grain crust, the milk is 1% or skim, and we offer healthier selections like multigrain macaroni and cheese, brown rice with our entrees and turkey sausage at breakfast.
We place a heavy emphasis on produce, offering students their choice of four fruits or vegetables every day, including a daily selection of fresh fruit and entrée chef’s salads. Some kids are more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables when they are pre-cut, so in addition to serving whole fruits, we offer orange smiles, pineapple spears and bags of baby carrots.
We try to mix up the menus too by serving items like steamed collard greens, pasta salad and baked sweet potato fries (We don’t fry any of our foods!). This year, we’ll be featuring a vegetarian entrée every day, including vegetarian chili served with whole wheat crackers.
School Nutrition Services works closely with the school district wellness committee, and we’re in the process of hiring a nutrition education specialist, so that this year, we can spend more time in the classroom encouraging kids to try new healthy foods and teaching them the importance of good nutrition.