Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to speak with Angie Gaszak, RD Nutrition Specialist with the St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS). We’ve been tracking our visit on our Smart School Lunch blog, but we wanted to share a little here too.
SPPS is a larger school district. They have 39,000 students and serve 30,000 lunches each day! We were delighted to make that 30,002 when we stopped in for lunch at Como Park High School.
We were pleased to see the colorful, nutritious options offered to students. It made it easy to follow the MyPlate standards – as you can see from the picture of our trays.
Angie was able to tell us that their lunches have been very successful. The lunch menus meet and surpass the new dietary and nutritional standards – and they see 78 percent participation. Aside from a passionate staff, there were a couple of other things we noticed about SPPS.
Meals made from scratch! This has allowed the school to work with local providers. They have full control of what goes into the food. They have been able to make incremental changes, which have proven especially important with reducing sodium. Students were not necessarily interested in a dramatic taste difference but have been brought about with a series of small changes over time.
Good marketing! Nutrition Services wanted to get in front of the parents and media on the new nutritional standards. They invited parents and media in to the lunchrooms to see the changes being made to their lunches. With this, SPPS has seen very little push back. Parents and the community have been very supportive.
We thank SPPS and Angie for letting us in to see MyPlate in action in the schools.