The most recent report on household food security by the United States Department of Agriculture found 20% of American children to be food insecure. For more than 30 million children across the country, this means relying on school meals for the nutrition they need to become healthy, productive adults. With this in mind, Project Bread has launched a valuable, new tool to help food service directors and school kitchen workers serve children both nutritious and delicious school food that meets the latest USDA standards.
Let’s Cook Healthy School Meals offers more than 100 recipes designed to tempt students into eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing salt and dairy fat. Each recipe complies with the USDA standards announced in 2012, which are laid out in a simple table at the beginning of the book.
The recipes in Let’s Cook Healthy School Meals are designed to serve 100 elementary students, but can be easily scaled up or down to feed more or fewer children. Each meets at least one requirement of the USDA regulations and, where possible, aims to maximize the use of USDA commodity products. Many of the calculations are based on the USDA buying guide. The cookbook also includes tips to help food service workers maximize ordering, use herbs and spices to increase flavor and other tricks the contributing chefs have learned along the way. Each recipe also takes into account challenges school kitchen workers face every day: budgets, equipment, training, inventory and time.
The recipes in the book were developed by Project Bread chefs and school food service directors from across Massachusetts. Chef Didi Emmons, founding chef of four restaurants in Greater Boston and the author of three cookbooks, teamed up with Project Bread to test recipes. Each recipe was put through Nutrikids for nutrient analysis and cost.
Download your copy of Let's Cook Healthy School Meals Cookbook.