Alberta School overhauls cafeteria kitchen and menu to provide nutritious food choices
Cafeteria upgrades powered by a $25,000 Hellmann's® Real Food Grant and menu inspired by celebrity chef Chuck Hughes
Hellmann's® announces additional $100,000 in Real Food Grants for like-minded community initiatives across Canada
RED DEER, AB, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Do you worry about the food your
child's school cafeteria serves? Parents and teachers at École Camille
J. Lerouge School (ECJLS) school in Red Deer Alberta did, so they took
drastic steps to create change including renovating the cafeteria
kitchen and overhauling the daily menu to offer students more
nutritious lunch options. The initiative was funded by a $25,000 Real
Food Grant from Hellmann's® Canada.
At an event to celebrate the launch of the refurbished cafeteria today,
students at the rural Alberta school received a surprise visit from
celebrity chef and TV personality Chuck Hughes and a chance to try some
of the new nutritious menu items. Representatives from the school's
student-, parent- and teacher-led Real Food Council, and from the
Hellmann's® brand, were also on-site to speak to the students about the
importance of eating more real foods everyday.
"There is so much processed and pre-packaged foods when it comes to
school lunches that it can often be difficult for even the most
well-intentioned parents, who are busy balancing their work and family
lives, to make healthy choices for their children," said Vanessa
Darling, Grade 1 teacher and member of the ECJLS Real Food Council. "We
have a responsibility to the parents in our community, and ultimately
the students who attend our school, to provide lunch options that are
nutritious and fresh whenever we can. The changes we have made here,
with support from the Hellmann's® brand, will allow us to rise to that
challenge and encourage parents to start utilizing our cafeteria more
often and students to start eating more nutritiously."
Typical of many school cafeterias across the country, the old menu at
ECJLS featured a limited selection of processed and pre-packaged foods
that were simply reheated and served to students. Feature menu items
included pizza bagels; 'taco in a bag' made by adding ground beef,
cheese, salsa and lettuce to a bag of nacho chips; and French fries on
Fridays. Now students can look forward to a menu featuring daily
made-from-scratch specials and more nutritious takes on old favourites
like chicken fingers.
"The idea is not to take away the foods kids love, but make them with
real, fresh ingredients," said Chuck Hughes who was on-hand to help
serve up some of his nutritious menu creations. "People will be
surprised at how adventurous kids are when it comes to food if it's
prepared in fun and delicious ways. When I saw the old menu, my first
reaction was not to get rid of cafeteria classics that kids love but
rather to make awesome chicken fingers that are better for them too.
Pretty soon they'll be asking their parents to prepare these nutritious
versions at home."
The school's menu revisions are a work in progress, but already features
healthier options like fresh wraps, soups and stir-fry with rice. The
new kitchen appliances now allow cafeteria staff to prepare food from
scratch on-site instead of warming prepared foods, and the school's
deep fryer has been removed. Cafeteria staff plan to work with the
student body on an ongoing basis to test new, nutritious menu items to
develop a menu that both kids and parents will love.
"We're very excited to be able to support this school in their efforts
to deliver nutritious and delicious lunch-options to their students as
part of our Real Food Grants program," said Stephanie Cox, Senior Brand
Manager for Hellmann's® brand in Canada. "We truly believe that the
passion and initiative displayed at the École Camille J. Lerouge School
can serve as an inspiration and model for other motivated communities
More real food funds available
Committed to supporting community initiatives that are going the extra
mile to connect kids with real food, Hellmann's® brand will be offering
up another $100,000 in Real Food Grants in 2012. The grants will be
issued in three phases - spring, summer and fall - to coincide with the
growing seasons and allow for participation by a wider variety of
groups throughout the year. Hellmann's® has also created a library of
resources, including tip sheets, recipes, and inspiring case studies to
help Canadians who are passionate about real food.
"Through our Real Food Movement programs, we have helped to expose
Canadian families and kids to the pleasure that comes from eating real
food," says Cox. "In addition to funding community initiatives, we have
also created real food resources, are facilitating conversations about
food on our Facebook page and continue to work with Chuck Hughes to
inspire more Canadians to join the Real Food Movement."
To apply for a Real Food Grant or to find out more about other Real Food
Movement initiatives from the Hellmann's® brand, visit realfoodmovement.ca.
Canadians can also connect with Hellmann's® on Facebook at Facebook.com/HellmannsCanada to share ideas, inspiration and recipes.
About the Real Food Movement
Hellmann's® brand was founded on the principle of using real, simple ingredients -
like eggs, oil and vinegar. This commitment to real ingredients is why
Hellmann's® launched the Real Food Movement - a mission to help get
more real food on Canadian tables by inspiring families to smell,
taste, touch and learn about the pleasure that comes from eating real
food. Canadians can join the real food conversation and learn how to
eat real at www.facebook.com/HellmannsCanada.
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