Do you remember going back to school and having that imaginary checklist . . . outfit for the first day . . . schedule . . . friends to check-in with . . . school supplies? Reflect back . . . was school lunch ever at the top of your list? . . . It should be!
School lunch isn't just a time for socializing and waiting for recess, it's a time to refuel and maybe learn a thing or two. Through our eat. learn. live. philosophy, we strive to make every meal count.
- eat. We focus on the 'good stuff' and not the bad. Our menus are designed by Chefs and Registered Dietitians to ensure quality nutrition in every bite. For example, all of our pizza crust, dinner rolls, biscuits and sandwich wraps are made with whole grains. Additionally, we understand that food preferences are evolving, and feature cuisines from around the world and vegetarian options with plant-based proteins. By making each meal colorful and flavorful, students get plenty of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep their minds sharp and bodies healthy.
- learn. We understand that food and learning are inextricably linked. Providing our students with safe, delicious, appetizing and nutritious meals is our number one priority and inspires our kitchen teams to prepare enticing foods using top quality ingredients. We focus on a nutritious fruit or vegetable each month, featuring it on the menu and in educational materials throughout the café. It is the focus of Chef2School events, culinary/nutrition demonstrations in the cafe, and lessons for the classroom.
- live. We are committed to protecting our environment. We purchase fresh, local produce; it's a win-win by supporting the health of students and as well as the local economy. You can look on our monthly menus to see what seasonal fruits and vegetables we are serving up. We make it a point to source sustainable products whenever possible, like chicken and turkey raised without the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics, and milk and yogurt from cows not treated with growth hormone (rBGH). We help our schools build school gardens, even serving the harvest in meals, so students learn how food is grown.
Now that you know what eat. learn. live. is all about and what we do every day to support our students, you can officially add school lunch to your back to school 'checklist'! We even have an easy way view our menus - just download our Nutrislice app (iPhone or Android) and find your school. You'll be able learn more about the meal program, see photos of each menu item, and have access to nutrition and allergen information too. See you at lunch!
Ayn Yeagle MS, RD is the Northeast Regional Dietitian for Chartwells K12.