For one thing, kids LIKE vegetables! Even though at home I sometimes struggle to get my kids to try new things, it seems as if the school setting is the perfect place to be adventurous. I was amazed at plates piled high with lettuce, carrots, broccoli and pea shoots. I wonder how often we as parents assume that our children won’t like something and not even encourage them to try it. School could provide the perfect opportunity to teach our kids about healthy food and where it comes from.
I’ve been talking with a number of parents over the last few months about school lunch and most agree that packing lunches is a real drag. Not only are the packaged foods designed to make the task easier for us expensive (the average packed lunch costs nearly the same as a school-made lunch), they are largely devoid of the nutrients kids need to make the most of their school day. It would be so
The challenges with serving delicious, nutritious, more locally sourced food in school cafeterias are numerous, but perhaps the biggest factor is that our cafeterias are expected to turn a profit.
This pressure doesn’t lend itself well to serving high quality, healthy food. Your school kitchen may be one of the many that simply doesn’t. However, in the Annapolis Valley there are many examples of schools doing just that, by patching together funding, engaging parents and children, relying on passionate volunteers and administration. These programs are fantastic, but we need a sustainable approach that works at all our schools. What can we do?
We need to speak. Tell your school administration and the newly-named Annapolis Valley Regional Education Centre that you want school food that meets nutrition standards, sources locally, offers good value and tastes delicious. If your school cafeteria serves good food, celebrate and order as often as you can. Even more importantly, let your government officials know that school food is a priority and needs funding. Canada is the ONLY industrialized country that doesn’t have a national lunch program! It’s time for this to change. Our children’s future health, happiness and good taste depends on it.
Stinger Ranch Dressing
This dressing from The Kitchen Party Cookbook is a huge hit at the Berwick School Stinger Salad Bar! Try serving a bowl of it as a dip with raw veggies the next time your kids are ravenously circling the kitchen.
1⁄2 cup Yogurt or Sour Cream
1⁄2 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped Parsley
2 Green Onions, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar, White Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1⁄4 teaspoon Salt
To make the ranch dip, stir all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. You can also pulse everything together in the food processor. Refrigerate until needed for up to one week.