Food & Nutrition Update 6.3.19

Dear Parents,

As part of our ongoing effort to enhance communication about food services and nutrition education across CGPS, members of the Parents Association have been meeting regularly, over the past two years, with CGPS administration and FLIK, our food services provider. Most recently, PA representatives met to follow-up on issues raised at the last parent meeting with FLIK; to review the Food Survey results; and to make sure that the new FLIK Director of Food Services was aware of parent and student feedback that we have compiled since our last update.

We are pleased to share a summary of the main topics that have been discussed, their current status, as well as changes that we can expect next year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Parents Association at pa@cgps.org.

Changes in Progress or Addressed during the 2018/19 Academic Year

Nutritional/Wellness Education/Communication:

  1. Food Survey: PA partnered with School Administration to survey students in each division to include them in the food feedback process. 441 students participated (as well as 39 faculty members, who represented students in our younger grades).  The information from the surveys is being used to inform FLIK and the CGPS administration when reviewing food offerings.

  2. Parent Cafeteria Visits: PA partnered with FLIK to offer four Parent Cafeteria Visits and Tastings in all cafeterias to help parents have more informed discussions about their child’s food choices.  We will continue to offer more visits in the Fall.

  3. Examples of Nutrition and Wellness education that are already embedded in the curriculum are:

  • Grammar School: Wellness Week (in its second year), MyPlate in Kindergarten

  • Middle School 6th grade Human Anatomy reviews nutrition; Middle School Wellness Week; 7th grade Health module

  • Prep School 9th grade mandatory Health Class reviews nutrition in great detail.  

  1. Healthy Plate photos were created to help Grammar School children choose healthy food combinations from the salad and yogurt bars.

  2. FLIK simplified the names of the food items on the menus and signs in response to parents and student feedback.

 

Variety and Frequency of Food

  1. Simplifying Food Options:

    1. Sauces: This year all sauces are now available on the side.

    2. Hot vegetables: Increased the frequency of simpler hot vegetables (broccoli, carrots, hot edamame in shell with salt). For instance, FLIK has just begun to offer hot edamame twice per month as well as offer it daily on the salad bar.

    3. Chicken tenders were changed from freshly made in the FLIK kitchen to store-bought Tyson chicken tenders as a result of decreased consumption of the larger sized homemade version.  The Tyson chicken tenders are hormone-free and antibiotic-free.

    4. Soups: Chicken noodle (and sometimes rice) soup is now offered every day in the Grammar School and at least once per week in the Middle and Prep School.  

  2. Warm grilled chicken – Is being offered regularly; FLIK is reviewing options to provide it with even greater frequency for next year.

  3. Rice – Offered once per week. Due to logistical and space constraints—primarily so that a wide array of food options can be offered—FLIK is not currently planning to offer rice more frequently.

  4. Pasta - Pasta is served every day. Sauce is always on the side.

  5. Gluten-free: The school serves a variety of gluten-free items including a version of the hot meal, gluten-free bread, and gluten-free pastas.

  6. Vegetarian: There is always a hot vegetarian entree option in addition to the salad bar, yogurt bar and sandwich options.  The salad bar includes beans and hummus (along with crispy homemade pita chips) daily.

  7. Grilled cheese is served once per month; in the MS and PS, grilled cheese can be ordered as a panini sandwich.

  8. Lo-mein: The school now offers a rotation of lo-mein each month with Asian meals

  9. Romaine lettuce is now available on the salad bar every day, when available. If Romaine is not available, then green leaf or red leaf is substituted.

  10. Apples, oranges and bananas are offered each day at lunch along with another seasonal fruit, such as berries or pineapple.

  11. Tacos are offered regularly and are a very popular item. Students make their own tacos with their favorite fillings.

  12. Students and parents have asked for toasters to be available at breakfast and lunch.  It is available in the Prep School, but because there is a significant fire hazard caused when non-bread items (such as cheese) are placed in the toaster, there needs to be additional protocols implemented to ensure safety.. Toasters are available in the GS Cafeterias behind the counters.

New Food Offerings:

  1. Chef Sebastian and Chef Brian love to pilot new foods to celebrate different ethnic backgrounds as well as to expand our children’s experiences with foods. They appreciate hearing feedback from students and parents.

  2. Panini Press: The Press was installed in the Middle School and has been a great success!

  3. Pizza: FLIK has been piloting a number of different pizza options. Our ovens don’t get hot enough for traditional crispy pizza. FLIK has begun to rotate in some other options such as baguette pizzas. Pizza is on the menu at least three times a month.  

  4. Although Ramen was a requested item on the surveys, FLIK piloted a Create-your-own-Ramen-Noodle bowl this year but it was not popular amongst the kids. They are considering trying it again next year.

  5. Homemade granola is now available on the yogurt bar during breakfast and lunch.

  6. Sushi was a popularly requested food item by kids. Unfortunately, it is not economical to serve sushi on a regular basis because it is very labor intensive. However, it was introduced as a tasting in the Prep School cafeteria this year and FLIK is considering including sushi as a special tasting a few times next year.

Quality Control:

  1. Fresh bread and bagels are delivered every day.  Bread and bagels from the prior day are not served in that form. They are often used to make croutons and bread crumbs to minimize waste.

  2. Yogurts and other foods with expiration dates are reviewed and are disposed of every day as new items are restocked.

  3. Children in the Grammar School and Middle School who do not like their food to touch can now use sectioned plates.

Snacks:  

  1. Refrigerators were installed on each floor of the Middle School so that sandwiches, cheese sticks, and yogurts can stay fresher in addition to the fruit in the baskets.

  2. Popular snacks such as Nutrigrain bars are being replenished more frequently in the Middle School.  We also introduced additional snacks such as hummus and roll-ups.

  3. Fruit, protein and carb snacks are available in all divisions (see link for full listing).

  4. Easy to eat fruit (bananas, apples and clementines, grapes) are available every day.  

Availability of Food:

  1. There were some intermittent issues with running out of popular food items for children with later lunch periods. That issue has been addressed.  Similarly, there were intermittent issues with food being ready for the earliest GS lunch periods. This issue has been resolved.

Lunch Scheduling:

  • The Middle School was able to decrease the number of students eating an early lunch at 10:30, and decrease the number of students eating at the later 1:30 period.



Organic and Local Food:

  1. Snacks: FLIK piloted Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies and have added them into the rotation.  FLIK is reviewing possible revisions to snacks offered next year with Administration.

  2. Dairy: Milk and cheese served is hormone-free and antibiotic-free.  Organic yogurt is available each day. The school offers low-fat, skim and full-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese). The school has decided not to offer high-sugared yogurt drinks.

  3. Meats: All meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free.

  4. Produce: All produced is locally sourced when available. The produce on the “EWG dirty dozen list as well as other produce is organic, when available.

Cafeteria Management/Administration:

  1. A new Senior Director of Food Services was appointed by FLIK and CGPS. Keith Waskowitz, began on February 20, 2019 and comes to us most recently from his Director position at Avenues.  We look forward to Keith’s ideas for our cafeterias! His focus is raising the level of service, customer service as well as better organizing the server areas especially for the Grammar School.

Looking Ahead

Nutritional/Wellness Education/ Communication

  • Additional signs with photos to communicate Daily Meal options that may not be visible will be placed in the Grammar School.

Lunch Scheduling/Availability of Food

  • FLIK is reviewing opportunities with Administration for re-designing the GS Cafeterias in order to reduce lines for popular lunch items

  • The MS has been reviewing the possibility of taking further steps to move even more lunch periods closer to the noon hour. It is not yet clear if this will be possible due to space constraints and scheduling but it is being seriously evaluated.

 

Quality Control:

  • Salad bars: FLIK is exploring options for minimizing the possibility of food mixing on the salad bar. They are also examining how to make the far items more accessible to younger children without having to put their heads under plastic covering.  Some suggestions for having salads made behind a counter (like at popular customized salad eateries) cannot be implemented due to space constraints.

Best Practices:

  • FLIK is reviewing best practices of other private schools to determine whether there are menu items or practices that will be adopted at CGPS.



Suggestions for parents

 

  • Help guide your child/ren’s lunch time selections by reviewing menu offerings prior to lunch and map out choices with them (also, check out FLIK’s Daily Food Offerings)
  • For specific issues/concerns on a child’s nutritional choices, parents should reach out to teachers (GS-5th grade), nurse (MS), or Dean (PS)
  • Please reach out to your PA Grade President if you have a concern that you would like the PA to raise with FLIK.
  • Survey for children sent out; teachers completed for younger grades; parents can speak to children about their responses (link to the survey)
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