Outside culinary advice helps revamp school lunch
Cafeteria consulting: Oak Park Unified School District, 3,800-student district in Southern California (map), has revamped their lunch program with the help of a local business. Spurred by an interest in children's health, a district official teamed up with the director of nutrition at the California Health & Longevity Institute at the Westlake Four Seasons. The institute staff donated time and materials to create new recipes, test them, train cafeteria workers and help the district with food sourcing. In all, they created 72 recipes, some of which use USDA commodities, that aim to increase the quantity of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the meals. Because several schools have minimal cooking equipment, much of the prep work is done in a central kitchen, with final heating or baking occurring at the school. After two years of declining lunch sales, early indications are that more students are trying the new items. The article includes recipes from the program if you want to try making your own Oak Park school lunch. (Los Angeles Daily News)
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