How the Mediterranean Diet Can Enhance Your School Menu

The Mediterranean Diet was just ranked #1 in the Best Diets Overall category by US News and World Report. With so many unique and popular flavors to add to your school’s menu, you may be considering the possibility of offering Mediterranean cuisine to your school cafeteria.

The popular Mediterranean diet prioritizes fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the core components of each meal. These food items provide important vitamins and minerals that help students’ growing bodies, provide the necessary carbohydrates for long-lasting energy and ensure ample fiber for healthy digestion. Mediterranean cuisine encourages heart-healthy fats, vegetarian sources of protein and fresh herbs and colors that make dishes exciting and flavorful. Overall, the diet promotes a healthy weight for kids and supports proper development.

Although some of the history of the Mediterranean diet is lost with time, it’s origin stems from the Mediterranean basin. This diet has been consumed since ancient times and continues to be a popular choice today. Some countries that are part of the Mediterranean today include Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. Although they each have their own cuisines, there are many similarities in ingredients and flavor profiles. Some examples of typical Mediterranean dishes include hummus, baba ganoush, couscous, falafel and kebabs. Herbs such as mint, basil, thyme, parsley and dill are staples in these recipes.

If you are interested in incorporating Mediterranean flavors and dishes in your school lunchroom, JSI is excited to offer two NEW! culinary workshops this school year: Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshops to Go and an innovative Live-Setting Culinary Training.

The Back to Basics:  Mediterranean Flavors is a 3-hour hands-on Workshop to Go designed to advance the culinary skills of school nutrition staff while they prepare popular Mediterranean recipes that students will love. Participants explore different Mediterranean tastes that are rich in history and flavor and learn how to incorporate them into various meal components.

JSI’s newest innovative training is the Live-Setting Culinary Training which is open to five schools this school year once they have completed the Back to Basic: Mediterranean Flavors workshop. This workshop requirement is necessary because same Mediterranean recipes are prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside a JSI chef. No professional development day needed! A pilot of the Live-Setting concept was tested at Milton High School in June 2017 and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity using Mediterranean cuisine.

If you’re interested in scheduling a Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop you can make an online request. For additional resources on the Mediterranean diet, you can visit the JSI resource center.

 

 

Two NEW! Culinary Workshops Add Mediterranean Flavors to Your School’s Menu

Looking for a new culinary workshop or to add a Mediterranean flare to your school menu? Look no further. JSI is excited to offer two NEW! culinary workshops this school year: Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshops to Go and an innovative Live-Setting Culinary Training.

The Back to Basics:  Mediterranean Flavors is a 3-hour hands-on Workshop to Go designed to advance the culinary skills of school nutrition staff while they prepare popular Mediterranean recipes your students will love, such as shawarma pita wraps, hummus, tzatziki sauce, and more! School nutrition staff will enhance their culinary skills while exploring how to incorporate Mediterranean flavors into several different meal components designed to be served in the school lunchroom.

We are also pleased to offer Live-Setting Culinary Training to five schools this school year. This innovative training is an option for schools once they have completed the Back to Basic: Mediterranean Flavors workshop, since these same Mediterranean recipes will be prepared and served in the lunchroom in real-time alongside the JSI chef. The Live-Setting concept was successfully piloted at Milton High School in June 2017 and we are thrilled to expand this opportunity to more schools this year.

JSI Chef Brendan Gallagher works alongside Milton High School’s nutrition staff in a Live-Setting Culinary Training in June 2017

This innovative training was created by Chef Kent Getzin to train school foodservice teams in their live working environment during regular food production. With this new training approach, your school nutrition team can produce meals for the day while simultaneously learning valuable new culinary skills.

If you are interested, please make your online request for the Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go. Email us at johnstalker@framingham.edu for more information about the Live-Setting Culinary Training.

May is Celiac Awareness Month! Educate Your Staff with a Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go

Did you know that Celiac Disease affects 1% of the population and is the world’s most prevalent genetic autoimmune condition? As May marks the beginning of Celiac Awareness Month, consider scheduling the Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go for your staff.

This interactive workshop uncovers the basics of gluten, identifies ingredients with gluten and helps attendees learn how find these items on food labels. Using practice scenarios and group dialogue, attendees discuss how to create a safe and nutritious gluten-free school environment for students with diet limitations.

The Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go covers what to look for on a food nutrition label to avoid gluten for students.

Throughout the two-hour workshop, school staff will participate in hands-on activities like “Gluten or No Gluten” to reinforce their label-reading knowledge. The instructor will walk through specific activities that will prepare school staff for common scenarios they may face as they work to accommodate students with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity. Additionally, the group will discuss possible gluten-free substitutions for school menus and ensure these ideas adhere to USDA guidelines.

The workshop will also share the latest food labeling laws to identify gluten. You can  learn more about how gluten-free products are labeled by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help inform how you label and package products at your school.

Gluten-Free at School resources on the JSI Resource Center

The JSI Resource Center is also full of great “Gluten-Free at School” resources which include links to resources actually shared in the Gluten-Free at School Workshop to Go and other external links that will help staff learn about Celiac Disease, new research and find more information about gluten-free diets.

Please visit the JSI website for more information or to schedule this Workshop to Go today!