LiveWell Colorado Holds Workshop to Improve School Lunches
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Improving school foods is a hot topic. It's one that School District 51 and LiveWell Colorado are taking seriously. Starting on Thursday, the two are partnering up for a two-day training class to teach food managers how to cook food in a healthier way.
“What we are showing is that there are smarter ways to make meals,” said Venita Currie of LiveWell Colorado. “LiveWell's goal is to change the culture of a cafeteria, of a school, of a community, and to show that the healthy choice is the easy choice and also the preferred choice.”
The partnership is helping the district meet new federal guidelines and change from a “processed food kitchen” to a “scratch food kitchen.”
“Our kitchen managers and our culinary staff at the school are no longer working out of a processed food box,” said Dan Sharp of the School District 51 food services. “They are now working with lots of different ingredients and having to assemble those ingredients into a dish.”
The organization’s two-day culinary workshop is training 24 of the district's food service leaders on how to work with additional ingredients, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The hope is that these leaders will then teach other cafeteria staff members.
“The training that LiveWell Colorado is going to provide us with is helping us provide a good, quality product,” said Sharp. “The bottom line is that will help fuel successful learning.”
LiveWell Colorado officials say the change will help make the food healthier because they will now know exactly what is going into the school lunches, as opposed to the old way.
“We're not putting in added salts, fats or preservatives,” said Currie. “All those things lead to unhealthy diets, so when the kids eat the foods in their school cafeterias, it's a healthy option that they are picking up.”
The Colorado Health Foundation is paying for all the classes, as well as the new equipment the school will need to cook these new school lunches.
LiveWell Colorado has been hosting these training classes across the state since 2010, and the organization hopes to reach all schools within the state by 2022.