We have been fortunate to have Wilma Ensing, our Registrar and Admin Assistant, join our staff this year. Wilma's formal training is in food and nutrition, and she has worked for many years as an advisor to the Dutch military on food and meal design. Wilma graciously signed on to assist Miss Fanta with the design and delivery of food services for AISB this year. Here is her report on what has she has been working on to date.
One of the goals for this year is to look into the meals and snacks to see how we do on nutritional values. We want to improve if possible and add new meals and snacks to the menu too. To reach our goal, I interviewed the Pre-K and elementary teachers. They see the meals and snacks every day. They see what the children eat and what they don’t eat. They talk to the children on a daily basis and they turned out to be a great source of information for me. I have a list of do’s and don’ts for both Pre-K and elementary that helps Fanta and me to improve the meals and stimulate children to eat well.
I also asked the teachers to come up with suggestions, both for the meals and the snacks. That turned out very well. We now have a list of suggestions for meals as well as snacks.
In the meantime, Fanta and I discussed what healthy food is and how we, as a school, can help the children to have a healthy diet. Serving children aged 2 until 18 is not making this easier. Different ages ask for different needs in nutrition. We talked about new meals on the menu. Fanta has started some experiments over the past weeks. She added African dishes to the menu and tried quiches. She also tried a different salad.
We intend to try something new every week. Fanta is improving some of the meals she already cooks, for example by adding more vegetables and bringing the amount of salt down. As far as the snacks are concerned, we added a few healthier options. Fanta found a nice recipe for homemade yoghurt. She serves this in little bowls. She also made humus with carrot and cucumber sticks. The smaller children like the yoghurt, and it looks like the MS/HS kids like the humus.
Experimenting can be fun, but is also a little bit scary. You don’t always know how children will like the meal and some meals and snacks need time to get used to. As a parent, I know that children do not always choose the healthier option. So making changes in the menu sometimes raises questions, like “why is this meal not on the menu this week”. We are keeping track of the sales to see what the preferences are, which changes work out well and which don’t.
We are open for suggestions. So if you have a suggestion, either for a meal or a snack, or you have a great recipe you want to share with Fanta and the school, please let us know. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. That will help us to change something in the menu every week.