When students return to school in seven Iowa districts this fall, they’ll be chowing down on healthier lunches as part of a pilot project. Patti Delger, the Team Nutrition project manager at the Iowa Department of Education, says the food will be better for the kids, and should taste better, too.
“The menus have two fruits and two vegetables every day,” Delger says. “We try to increase whole grains throughout the week. Also, locally-grown foods are offered as an option and beans and legumes have been increased.” Delger says the school districts volunteered for the pilot program, and they’ll be getting plenty in return.
She says, “We’re contracting with chefs to provide some on-site visits as well as Iowa State University Extension specialists that will go and do some staff training with the food service department.” The plan is to eventually roll out the so-called Gold Menu program across Iowa.
Delger says, “We’ll get some feedback and some outcomes from the pilot and then hope to tweak the menus a little bit, improve on them and then release them to all schools next spring.”
The districts taking part in the pilot project are: South Hamilton, Gilbert, Lawton Bronson, Humboldt, Southeast Polk, Johnston and Des Moines Independent. Learn more at the Iowa Department of Education website: www.iowa.gov/educate
Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City