School lunch specialist shares tips to cure school lunch box blues
TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - Dairy Farmers of Canada is teaming up
with school lunch specialist and Registered Dietitian Shannon Crocker
to develop five original ideas for curing the lunch box blues. The new
"Crocker's cures for lunchbox blues" are part of the year-long
celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Elementary School Milk Program (ESMP).
More than 2,800 Ontario schools (70 per cent of all Ontario Elementary
Schools) will be celebrating their participation in the ESMP as a way
to encourage more students and more schools to enjoy the many benefits
of the program.
As an expert who spends a lot of time in schools, Crocker sees first-
hand the many benefits the ESMP provides to the overall nutrition of
"Students love the Elementary School Milk Program for the great tasting
milk and fun rewards," says Crocker. "Parents feel good knowing their
children are getting energy and 16 essential nutrients they need to
stay healthy, alert and ready to learn every day."
When it comes to school lunch nutrition Crocker wears three expert hats:
a mother of two school-aged children, an ESMP volunteer and a
Registered Dietitian. This puts her in a unique position to see what is
going on in school lunch rooms.
"Parents are getting tired of making the same packed lunch for their
kids, only to see them bring home half-eaten sandwiches or an untouched
container of veggies," says Crocker. "My practical suggestions blend
the desire for parents to feed their children healthy foods with the
need to make things tasty and fun for the kids."
Crocker's cures will give parents alternatives to the constant barrage
of sugary, processed, over-packaged foods showing up on store shelves
and in school lunchrooms across Canada. She's produced a more
nutritious variation of foods she knows are kid favourites - things
like dips, savoury snacks, lunchtime drinks, pre-made kits and chewy
CROCKER'S CURES FOR LUNCHBOX BLUES (for a more complete description
please visit www.MilkinSchool.ca.)
1. For kids who like store bought pre-made lunch kits…
A fun lunch kit that kids can assemble themselves on weeknights.
Crocker suggests reusable containers divided into sections. Think of
simple finger foods for each section that kids can 'stuff it' or 'stack
it' and then eat it.
2. For kids who like rice cereal and sugary granola bars…
A homemade, no bake recipe your kids can help you with on a weeknight.
Make a big batch using low sugar, low fat, whole grains as ingredients
that are much less expensive and more nutritious than store-bought
versions and cut into individually sized bars. Wrap them and place
them into a freezer bag and into the freezer. In the morning, one place
into a reusable container and put it in their lunchbox.
3. For kids who have a lunchtime "drinking" problem…
A program that makes cold milk (white or chocolate) available to
students at school every day.
Many schools in Ontario are part of the Elementary School Milk Program,
a program that makes cold milk (white or chocolate) available to
students. It's an easy way to ensure your kids are getting a healthy
beverage delivered right to their school. Check it out at www.MilkinSchool.ca.
4. For kids who love to dip…
Bottom line - dipping is fun. Kids of all ages (and parents) love to
Dips add extra pizzazz to everything from a stick of celery to a
whole-wheat cracker. Make your own 'dessert style' dip with plain Greek
style yogurt, a bit of brown sugar and a splash of vanilla. Instead of
brown sugar, you can drizzle in some maple syrup, honey or chocolate
milk syrup. For dippers try grapes, berries, pineapple chunks, melon
chunks or peeled mini/Clementine orange sections or cinnamon baked pita
wedges (brush with a little butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, cut into
triangles, bake till crispy).
5. For kids who like crunchy snacks…
Have them assemble their own crunchy medley.
Put an array of healthy ingredients out on the table on the weekend and
have them assemble their own personalized medley. Store their creation
in an airtight container and they can scoop some out into smaller
containers for their lunch each day. Switch up the ingredients each
week to keep it interesting.
ABOUT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MILK PROGRAM
The Elementary School Milk Program partners schools with local dairies
to offer students cold, nutritious and affordable milk at lunchtime
every day. Since its inception, millions of children have benefited
from this program with the help of thousands of volunteers and people
in the dairy industry. Typically the milk is sold to the schools at
prevailing market prices. Schools then determine a 'fundraising'
profit, after which families receive a significant discount from what
one would pay for a 250mL carton of milk at a restaurant or convenience
WHAT EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE ESMP
"Educating students about how important it is to make healthy dietary
choices works best when food is actually being served at school. The
Elementary School Milk Program makes the healthy choice easy for
students by consistently delivering messages about healthy nutrition at
school," says Chris Markham, Executive Director and CEO of Ophea
(formerly the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association). "It
also helps students get the recommended 2-4 servings of milk and
alternatives per day, gives parents a convenient way for their children
to get daily servings of cold, nutritious milk and provides a safe and
easy way for schools to fundraise."
SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)
For further information:
For more great ideas on school lunches, to interview Shannon Crocker or to learn more about the Elementary School Milk Program, please contact:
Josh Terry / Katy James
416-322-3030, extension 239 / 232
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com