Students from Crescent City Junior/Senior High School (CCJSHS) in the Putnam County (FL) School District recently held a recipe contest to determine new additions to the school lunch menu. The five winning entries not only made it to the menu but were published in a recipe book given to all students at the school.
The initiative started when CCJSHS students participating in school nutrition focus groups were asked what they wanted to eat in their school lunches, and they answered that they wanted healthy meals that were similar to what they ate at home. The contest, which asked students to share their favorite family healthy recipes, required each submission to include whole grains, dark green or orange vegetables (fresh or frozen), or dry beans/peas.
The entries were reviewed by the district's school nutrition professionals to ensure they met USDA nutritional guidelines. Volunteer student judges then sampled the qualified entries and voted the top five. The winning recipes included a sloppy joe, tostados, carrot-raisin salad, aloha chicken and a Philly cheese sandwich.
"As a small rural school district with a diverse student population, we have the same goals as the larger school districts," says Karen Swartout, the Putnam County District's director of school nutrition services. "We want to make sure our students want to eat our school meals, so they can perform at their best. Working with students, their families and school educators is the best way to make sure our menus reflect that goal."