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Healthy District Meals and Scratch Cooking
Healthy District Meals and Scratch Cooking
Posted on 03/09/2022
Healthy District Meals and Scratch Cooking

March 1-31 is National Nutrition Month®.  This annual campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  

 

In Puyallup, our Food and Nutrition Services staff prepare healthy school meals by incorporating “scratch-cooking” techniques. They use basic ingredients for a given menu item and create it in the Central Kitchen. Many or most of the ingredients are prepared onsite from a raw and/or minimally processed form, and we can control the ingredients — which most often means less salt, no preservatives, and more whole grains.
Some may be unaware, that our Central Kitchen is designed and equipped for cooking from scratch. Raw and/or unprocessed food ingredients have shorter shelf lives and fewer added preservatives, thus requiring specialized kitchen infrastructure and equipment for receiving, storing, and preparing.

 For example, the pizza made in the district bakery. We make our own pizza dough using whole grain flour, eggs, salt, yeast, etc.  We then add our “made from scratch” pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings.  

Other benefits of scratch made items are lower costs and higher quality food.  This year, due to supply chain issues many districts were not able to find premade school lunch items on the open market.  However, since our staff cooks many items from scratch, ingredients such as flour, oats, beans, etc. have been readily available and we’ve still been able to offer a variety of options on our menus. 
 
Assistant Director of Production and Elementary Nutrition Services Joe Byrne notes  “We’re always looking for new items to add to our menu.  This year we’ve concentrated on new breakfast items and have added a Homemade Chocolate Chip Oat Bar and Whole Grain Cinnamon Oat Biscuit."

 Curious about what items on our meal menus are made from scratch?  Look for the ‘handmade with love’ icon for healthier food choices.