- Director of Food Service for Chicopee Public Schools Joanne Lennon was given the
- Fifth graders at Davis Thayer Elementary School in Franklin, MA delivered more than 300 pounds of donations to the Franklin Food Pantry this month.
- Dover-Sherborn Public Schools hosted the Back to Basics: Meat Alternates Workshop to Go to learn about the health benefits of meat alternates and how to make easy, meat-free meals in their schools.
- Oldham Elementary School in Norwood, MA was recently featured on CBS Boston for prioritizing real food in their lunchroom in collaboration with Jared Becker, Boston-based regional executive chef for Chartwells K-12. This school made several changes to their menu and their kitchen to serve food that not only tastes good but provides the nourishment students need to be successful in school.
On Wednesday, October 26, 2017, Dover-Sherborn Public Schools hosted the Back to Basics: Meat Alternates Workshop to Go. Chef Brendan Gallagher brought the workshop to life with his high level of exuberance and passion for the topic.This workshop is designed to teach school nutrition professionals how to make easy, meat-free meals that can be integrated into any school. Meat alternates may be a way to start curtailing the growing childhood obesity trend since one out of every three children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Additionally, meat alternates can be a good way to introduce new foods to children.
Meat alternates include: eggs, beans, legumes, cheese, and yogurt. Not only do these ingredients contain protein, but they all provide a number of different nutrients which contribute to optimal health and growth in children. For example, beans are a good source of fiber and are lower in saturated fat compared to meats. This can help with appetite regulation, weight management, and could possibly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
In addition to providing numerous health benefits, meat alternates can be a medium for exploring new or culturally diverse dishes. With the recipes learned in this workshop, schools can prepare lunches that will have student’s taste buds travelling around the world with Mexican, Southwestern, Mediterranean, Italian, and other influences.
After making these recipes, the staff at Dover-Sherborn sat down in the cafeteria and taste-tested them which created the true experience of a student. After doing so, they walked away from this workshop with the confidence to prepare each dish and explain the health benefits of choosing such meatless options. One way to start incorporating these foods into the school lunch menu is by introducing Meatless Mondays.
To learn more about combating childhood obesity or meatless meals, visit these resources: Recipes and Menus, Child Obesity, and Culinary Institute of America. Additionally, join us at the Bean-a-licious Culinary Demo from JSI in spring 2018 at a SNA of MA Chapter Meeting near you!
As we enter the season of eating and indulgences, we want to keep Food Allergies top of mind in Massachusetts schools. JSI offers a self-paced, 2-hour online training on “Food Allergies” to assure your school nutrition staff has the knowledge and skills to address food allergies at school.
This training will highlight the differences between food allergies and intolerances, discuss common food allergens and demonstrate how to identify these ingredients on a nutritional facts label. Real-life scenarios are included so participants can readily apply these key learnings in a school environment. This workshop is also recognized by ESE and MDPH as an acceptable training required in the Allergen Awareness Act, M.G.L.c.140, § 6B.
If you are unable to join Session 3 of this online training, JSI also offers a Food Allergies Workshop to Go which can be hosted at your school and is also recognized by ESE and MDPH. Sign up before November 20th to complete this online training during the next session which will run from December 4-18.
Two exceptional resources included in this training are available online:
- Managing Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools
- USDA Accommodating Children with Disabilities in the School Meal Programs
Additional resources can also be found in the JSI Resource Center’s Special Dietary Needs page.