Q: What does the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition do?
A: Our goal is to help Child Nutrition professionals implement best practices to improve all culinary aspects of their operation. We provide tips and strategies for preparing healthy culinary-inspired school meals.
One of our new initiatives is called the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition. It was launched with the support of the USDA to assist in meeting the unique training, technical assistance, and professional development needs of school nutrition professionals. One of the areas we focus on is increasing the use of fruits and vegetables on menus, from breakfast to snacks.
Q: How should schools, and all foodservice operations, think about increasing the use of fruits and vegetables on menus?
A: Produce—fresh, canned, frozen or dried—adds interesting color, texture and flavor to recipes. We eat with our eyes first, and fruits and vegetables give dishes the vibrancy that we are seeing more and more on restaurant menus and in media, especially with the interest in plant-based menus.
The popularity of bowls, pizza, and flatbreads gives us a lot of room to increase the appetite appeal on school menus with fruits and vegetables. We can give these dishes a flavor punch by using different cooking techniques and layering herbs, spices, and sauces.