With school starting up again, either in-person or virtually, food service staff are back to ensuring that students have access to healthy food to fuel their minds and bodies for learning.
The Foundation has been working with the Johnson Creek School District for the last three years to transition its breakfast and lunch menus with recipes cooked fresh daily in school kitchens, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, 100% all-meat beef and chicken, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and clean label products.
The main difference with this program and a traditional school lunch is how the food is prepared. Traditional school lunches consist primarily of reheated packaged foods. Johnson Creek’s fuel-up menu follows customized, nutritious recipes developed by an in-house chef. Meals are prepared on-site in school kitchens using fresh and clean label ingredients.
Prior to each school year starting, food service staff (pictured above - kudos to them!) participates in a “Culinary Academy” which covers knowledge and skills with menu planning, knife and cooking skills, kitchen organization and sanitation, and nutrition and health.
The scratch-cooked meals in Johnson Creek have been very successful. Prior to school buildings closing last spring, Johnson Creek had seen a 13% increase in their school lunch and a 2% increase in school breakfast participation rate. When school transitioned to home, they quickly pivoted and offered pre-packaged, scratch-cooked meals, which were picked up or delivered to students. This year, whatever the school year brings, they are ready to ensure students are well-nourished for learning.