Chanhassen High School students get a side of award-winning hummus with their vegetables, courtesy of district chef Steve Riley. His Eastern Carver County district is among those finding innovative ways to serve healthier foods and comply with federal regulations.
Minnesota schools offer a medley of healthy bites through such initiatives as farm-to-school, simple scratch recipes, school gardens and even hired chefs thanks to a national push for healthier school meals. After the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was adopted in 2010, districts across the state have worked to reform their school lunches.
While Congress has yet to move on reauthorizing the act, Minnesota school officials are giving no indication of slowing down with creative ways of incorporating healthy ingredients into their students’ lunches.
“We are always on the forefront,” said Julie Powers, president of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association.
Since the national act was set in motion, Minneapolis schools have worked with 12 farms and introduced 87 salad bars, said Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools nutrition director.