Dunsmuir Elementary School’s Healthy Eating Program
Dunsmuir Elementary School is gearing their meals for their students to be all homemade and USDA-approved.
Food Service Director Danielle Halley, along with her assistant, Sarah Davis, do a lot of menu planning to make sure they are including all the food groups for nutritious meals and are also incorporating the opinions of the students to make sure they serve what the children like to eat.
The Dunsmuir Elementary School cafeteria keeps production records, and temperature sheets, and limits the amount of sugar and sodium which allows for special desserts on Fridays. For St. Patty’s Day, the dessert was leprechaun juice that consists of green jello liquid with marshmallows.
Using two popular websites; ICN is a children’s nutrition program that has recipes for variety with keeping nutrition a top priority. HeathySchoolRecipes.com is a website that compiles recipes from other schools that pass USDA standards.
They currently have a kitchen program for rewarding students to help clean up to receive snacks and work points for awards. They also have 8th graders rotate as helpers in the kitchen to learn about food service and nutrition.
8th grader Rhylee Binns helps on Fridays. “I learn about nutrition and how to work in a kitchen with portions, healthy, and safe balanced meals. I also get to see all the kids all day. I make sure that the students get what they need, Today, we are serving pizza with loaded salads for nutrition.”
Their goals include making everything from scratch including BBQ sauce and soups; having a school garden to raise their own foods for meals: incorporating an elective cooking class; and obtaining fresh fruit and vegetable grants to be able to purchase from local food sources.
Halley says, “Food has been a way of showing love. My day starts with smiling faces and a nutritional breakfast for the kids so they will be energized and not hungry while they learn. Knowing their growing bodies and minds have the nutritional support they need is my biggest goal. I get the bonus of seeing all the kids each day and being a support for them.”
Sarah Davis adds, “We win their hearts through good food.”
Halley says that she came here from a big city and loves the small-town atmosphere. She says that a lot of the staff were once students at this school. “I am here to watch this new generation become more than what they think they can be.”