Healthy School Meals Come to Fruition
Janet Collins, IFT Incoming President-Elect and Global Biotechnology Manager, Government Affairs Lead, and Ag Policy Manager for the DuPont Co., kicked off the awards presentation for the inaugural “Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge” on Wednesday, June 27 in the Special Events Pavilion. As she explained, IFT in partnership with the IFT Foodservice Division and the American Culinology Federation (ACF) developed this competition to increase the accessibility of healthy foods throughout the country.
And there is certainly a need for more nutritious foods to be available for America’s children and teens. According to Rachel Dickens, from the USDA and one of the competition’s judges, 22 million children and teenagers take advantage of the free and reduced-price meals offered at schools in the United States. And with 17% of U.S.’s children and teens considered obese, it is vital to provide healthier options. This was one of the reasons the USDA launched the “Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition” in 2011, which sought out new recipe ideas in three categories: Dark green and/or orange veggies; whole grains; and dry beans and peas.
From there, the “Making Healthy School Meals Easy Challenge” was conceptualized. The goal: to recreate one of the winning recipes into a manufactured food product that is affordable, maintains the nutritional content, enhances the flavor, and can be easily used in cafeterias. Entries from the three finalist teams—each one comprised of a chef, food technologist, manufacturer, and school foodservice worker—were judged by an expert panel of eight judges including Charles Wilson, Executive Chef of Caesars Palace.
The winners were announced by Brian Yager of IFT’s Foodservice Division:
3rd Place: Team Delicious’ Roasted Fish Crispy Slaw Wrap
2nd Place: Team Arizona’s Porcupine Sliders
1st Place: Team Z-Trim’s Smokin’ Powerhouse Chili
Congratulations to all of the teams on their hard work!