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Providing Healthy Choices Through a Daily Lunch and Morning Snack Program

Contact:
Geoff Burns, Vice Principal Email: gburns@sd8.bc.ca Tel: 250.352.5591
Trafalgar Middle School - Kootenay Lake School District 8

Process:
Program is coordinated by home economics teacher and staff worker. They develop menu primarily using Canada’s Food Guide and guidelines for healthy eating, and are aware of the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools. They aim to incorporate at least five new items on monthly menu. It is rare for an item to be served more than once in a month.

“We use the freshest food we can and incorporate lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Lunch items are prepared by two grade nine catering classes of about 30 students each.  In September, students take FoodSafe and lunch service begins in late September.  Each student has a job, anything from washing salad greens to cooking pasta, etc.  Staff worker assists, as necessary and coordinates lunch service.  For example, the students may prepare all the ingredients and then just prior to lunch the staff person assembles the final dishes.  Student volunteers (usually two) assist with lunch service and are provided lunch free of charge.

Meal program is well received, with 50-120 students served daily from a student population of 500.  With the closing of the school canteen, an opportunity has also opened to offer snacks, such as muffins, yogurt and nuts, etc. at morning nutrition break.  Catering students also really enjoy the program.

People involved:
Home economics teacher, staff worker, catering students, administration

Key changes or results:
Lunch program has expanded over last few years, from pizza served once a week to daily lunch
Closing of the school canteen has created an opportunity for snack program
Student involvement in preparation has increased
Greater variety of items offered
Lunch is pre-paid which allows for better planning
Program is growing in terms of numbers served

Challenges:
Quantity cooking – determining portions and nutrient analysis
Keeping the students motivated, especially if they don’t see tasks through to final product (i.e. may be involved with prep work day before)
Next year changing from a grade 7-9 middle school to grade 6-8; younger students will be doing the catering class
In other schools (not Trafalgar) lack of kitchen facilities/space/resources have been barriers

Keys to success:
Using the freshest, healthiest ingredients possible
Offering variety
Communication amongst coordinators/providers
Committed staff who are excited about the opportunities/goals
Degree of flexibility in scheduling to allow catering students to be involved as much as possible

Next steps:
Some desserts may need to change in order to comply with guidelines
Student/parent survey asking for feedback, new ideas

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Making it Happen: Healthy Eating at School
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