Success Stories

Kid Favorites Get a Healthy Make Over in Virginia

Posted on 08/16/2010

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.

5 Comments - View or Leave a Reply

  • Dora Rivas August 28th, 2010 6:02 am

    Great Job! Chesapeake ideas are a great model for how healthy changes can be made while still maintaining they kid-friendly appeal.

  • Jean Ronnei August 30th, 2010 12:48 pm

    Great stuff Joanne and staff! Couple of questions — do your whole wheat crackers count as a grain? If so, what are you buying?

    Idea for Tray Talk — would be nice to have a link to the district’s website at the end of the success story. It would save time as we search further to find new ideas from the featured district.

  • Tray Talk Team September 10th, 2010 4:57 pm

    Good idea to include a link to the district’s website – we will do so in future success stories. Thank you.

  • Joanne Kinsey September 13th, 2010 3:00 pm

    Chesapeake schools continue to reinvent daily menus that feature whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies. We are excited about the expanded daily offering of vegetarian entrees at all grade levels.

  • Marilyn Hurt September 16th, 2010 3:36 pm

    Joanne – you continue to inspire us! I love that you serve collard greens! Thanks for sharing your success.

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