“What’s for lunch?” It’s a common refrain in school cafeterias across the state, and some tasty plans are in the works to provide exciting new and nutritious menu items. Thanks to a special series of events called “Oregon Cooks for Kids,” school cooks are learning new recipes featuring dairy ingredients that they can take back to their schools.
Sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Services, seven statewide culinary trainings are being offered for school nutrition directors and cooks in 2016. This year’s schedule includes trainings in Albany, Hermiston, McMinnville, Central Point, Salem, La Grande and Klamath Falls.
Chef Garrett Berdan, RDN, coaches participants on cooking-from-scratch culinary skills, while preparing and taste testing 15 actual recipes. The preparation of healthy meals for students emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, because studies show that well-nourished kids perform better at school. Participants practice menu planning, weights and measures, knife skills and other culinary techniques.
The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council has supported culinary training events for seven years. Oregon’s 228 dairy farm families and 31 dairy processors are involved with schools across the state — providing nutritious foods to kitchens and cafeterias and leading health and wellness initiatives.
|Cafeteria cooks have new tricks up their sleeves
Statewide culinary trainings are improving the quality and variety of meals served in Oregon schools. Learn more about what happens at these special events with this fun story from KGW TV’s Portland Today. VIDEO
|Healthy Meals for Healthy Students Trainings
Trainings are presented in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. We train school nutrition and frontline staff, giving them ideas and skills to improve their school meal programs with nutrient-rich recipes, featuring ingredients like low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. VIDEO
What happens when a broad-based group of citizens comes together with a common goal to improve the health of their community? Change happens!
Just over a year ago, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council (ODNC) organized a town hall gathering in Tillamook to bring together a diverse group of community leaders who care about health and wellness. This led to the Tillamook County Commission declaring 2016 the “Year of Wellness.”
Anne Goetze, Senior Director of Nutrition Affairs for ODNC, has been serving on their appointed task force and co-chairs the nutrition subcommittee. Additionally, this town hall led to ODNC’s work with the Oregon Department of Education and the Tillamook School District on wellness policy activation with Fuel Up to Play 60 as a featured program.
In August, a well-attended Community Health Matters Forum helped chart the course for ongoing community engagement. Results from an online challenge showed people making healthier food choices, preparing healthy meals and being more physically active every day. The success of this program serves as a model that will be introduced in Umatilla later this year.
For more information about the Year of Wellness efforts, visit their website at http://tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org/about-us/.
At Honor the Harvest, a summit sponsored by the National Dairy Council in June, more than 200 professionals from the culinary, nutrition, health and wellness, and agricultural communities gathered to immerse themselves in the science and insights about dairy’s role from farm to table.
Representing Oregon at this national summit was Anne Goetze, our Senior Director of Nutrition Affairs, Oregon Health and Science University’s Sonja Connor and Oregon Department of Education’s Farm to School Specialist, Rick Sherman.
“Our Oregon guests are leaders locally and nationally. They were intrigued to hear dairy’s sustainability story,” said Anne.
From a packed day of educational sessions and application to a tour of the agricultural experience at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, participants learned about dairy’s key role as part of sustainable food systems.
“Honoring the harvest is about using the food for its highest purpose and moving nutrients through the food system – from people, to animals, and back to the land to grow more food – instead of going to waste in a landfill,” said Anne. “By working together we can preserve precious resources and feed a growing population.”