Fresh fruit, vegetables and entrees will be awaiting Uplift scholars starting November 1.
The Uplift Education cafeteria staff began training for a new breakfast and lunch menu during their professional development day earlier this month. The change is part of Uplift Education Child Nutrition Program (CNP) director, Christina Smith’s effort to get scholars eating healthy but fresh food.
“I am passionate about fresh, quality and appealing food for scholars,” said Smith also a Registered Dietitian
Uplift Education is one of few school networks in the nation that will have fresh ingredients and offer scratch menu options. The new menu aligns with CNP’s new core values of fresh, quality ingredients, scratch cooking, minimally processed items with clean labels, and with a local and seasonal ingredients approach to menu planning.
Some of the new menu options include: scratch macaroni and cheese, rotini with homemade marinara, carnitas street tacos, Parmesan roasted broccoli, spicy roasted cauliflower and seasonal fresh fruit daily.
“Research has shown that the generation now loves the word ‘fresh’,” said Lindsey Schoenfield, co-founder of To Taste, the company which led the staff training .
The new menu will contain fresh local produce from the Walnut Creek Farms, a produce company of 40 local farms. CNP will implement menus with a local and seasonal approach.
“We want to aim that towards our cafeterias, towards our kitchens to make sure our scholars now have fresh ingredients,” said Schoenfield.
To Taste led the culinary training, teaching staff proper knife skills, measuring weights versus volumes, roasting, sautéing and making sauces including a roux. Cafeteria managers and staff worked alongside chefs to prepare different dishes. Vahista Ussery, co-founder of To Taste said it was not only learning the culinary fundamentals but also educating the staff on nutrition.
“The food was good and it (the new menu) will be good because the scholars are getting their vitamins,” said Nathalie Fabela, cafeteria employee at Uplift Mighty.
While the cost of breakfast and lunch are remaining the same, the change will be in align with the federal nutrition standards to lower sodium for the next 10 years.
Scholars with allergies or special diets should notify the school nurse. The cafeteria staff will then be notified and work to accommodate the scholar’s needs.