Get Schools in Shape with Culinary Boot Camps!

The Lempert Report
February 06, 2015

How can you help schools get kids excited with healthy & nutritious meal options?

Improving the diets and lifelong eating habits of children is a focus for government and state programs alike. A recent blog by Stewart Eidel from the School and Community Nutrition Programs at the Maryland State Department of Education,  talks about the USDA's Team Nutrition Grants, which supports initiatives such as Maryland's new training system for school food service professionals; "Culinary Boot Camps". According to Eidel's article, these "Culinary Boot Camps", which began in the summer of 2013, train more than 130 school food service staff at six locations throughout Maryland and prepare staff with anything from improved culinary skills, to learning ways to skillfully slice vegetables and creatively prepare recipes to help picky kids  enjoy nutritious foods.

And according to Eidel the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Not only are the food service staff enjoying it, but the kids are getting served a fresher, healthier assortment of foods.  So this got us thinking, why couldn't supermarkets also host these "Culinary Bootcamps"?

Supermarkets should act as community centers for health and nutrition, and what better way to host say, week long bootcamps for local school food professionals? Inviting a group of local nutrition experts and chefs to offer tips and creative ideas. While the job of schools is to follow health & nutrition standards and recipes and make sure food is safe, like the bootcamps in Maryland, supermarkets could provide a support system that gives these food service professionals the opportunity to think about food in a more unique way. 

As we all know, kids are the pickiest eaters and getting kids to eat well, especially when they're at school is not an easy task. Supermarkets could follow this example set by Maryland's boot camps and offer an innovative and unique support system for locals schools and families.