January 31, 2012: CWK staff members work closely with cafeteria staff, and over the years a trusting, collaborative relationship has developed. Judi Jaquez, Santa Fe Public Schools Student Nutrition Director, explained:
We are so fortunate to have a partnership with Cooking with Kids. Students who have participated in the cooking classes are much more open to trying new foods. When they recognize a food that they have helped to prepare in class and it is being served in the cafeteria, they tend to have a very positive response.
The Cooking with Kids staff is key to the success of offering CWK lunches in the cafeteria. In many cases, the foods are unfamiliar to cafeteria managers and staff, who need to be exposed to the new flavors and preparation techniques, just like the students. Often the recipes require more chopping of fresh ingredients. However, if the dish is well received the staff feels rewarded for their extra effort.
In general, we try to work on student acceptance of fruits and vegetables by offering beautiful, fresh salads using local greens and sprouts. We also offer fruit daily, using fresh or frozen as budget allows. Instead of focusing on “bad foods” to avoid, this positive approach helps to make the serving line colorful and appealing and helps students to develop better eating habits.
The joy of seeing students eating healthy meals is the great part of this program—all the regulations and paperwork and restrictions are the challenges!