Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bon Appetit!

Are these pictures from an end of summer garden party?

No. It's a typical school lunch for preschoolers.

Today marked the first day of the Bloom! Montessori School hot lunch program.

For the 2011-2012 school year, we are fortunate to be partnering with Revolution Foods to provide the children with approachable, nutritious, hot lunch options. Revolution Foods was founded in Oakland, CA in 2006 by Kirsten Saenz Tobey and Kirsten Groos, two mothers who wanted to reverse the growing tide of childhood obesity and the poor eating habits that proclaim America's youth. To date, Revolution Foods has served more than 23 million meals to school children and serves more than 70,000 meals daily to school children in more than 600 programs across the country. Revolution Foods serves meals that are appealing, delicious, and nutritious. Their meals consist of lean proteins, whole grains, a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. They utilize whole, not heavily processed convenience foods, in age-appropriate portion sizes. Their mission is to instill life-long nutritional habits which will support student health and the maintenance of a healthy weight. All of their ingredients meet Whole Foods Market's stringent quality standards.

Revolution Foods meals never contain:

-NO rBST or hormones in milk
-NO fried food (including flash fried food)

-NO high fructose corn syrup

-NO trans fats

-NO artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

-NO flavored milk or juice.

If the idea of "school hot lunch" conjures images of worn cafeteria trays, hair nets, and hamburgers, think again. The excited children participated in the ritual of setting the communal tables- carefully laying out the muslin tablecloths, setting the tables with a full place setting of china, and adorning the tables with their beautiful flower arrangements. When the preparations were complete, the children politely passed the serving vessels around the table, chatted politely about the day's events, and practiced using their best table manners. The children dined on all natural bean and cheese burritos, steamed carrots, salad, and fresh, local, peaches. Our meals are served with the child's choice of Horizon Organic Nonfat DHA Omega 3 milk, Silk Soy DHA Omega 3 with Calcium, or filtered water.

By the time lunch was over, practically all of the children had taken second helpings (interestingly, the steamed carrots and fresh peaches were the first to go) and the serving platters were completely empty! Everyone was very pleased with the quality, flavor, and appearance of the meals;

however, the main point of interest for the children was the ambiance. They were absolutely delighted with the embroidered tablecloths (embroidered place settings allowed them to set the table by matching the plates and silverware to their corresponding outlines), and they spent the majority of lunch practicing their table manners and mastering the skill of cutting food with a knife and fork (this was a new skill for all but one child- and I suspect the reason that the carrots disappeared first-they were the perfect food to practice cutting and eating).

As I watched the elated children learning to use knives and forks, I could not help but think of a recent Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution episode which addressed the subject of giving knives to young children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOLTGT1Aexg

Just as Jamie Oliver surmised, it took the children less than one meal to have the basics down, and taught them a valuable skill that they will use for the rest of their lives.

We would like to extend a sincere thanks to Revolution Foods, especially Jenny Herman, Jacqueline Gleason, & Pat Donovan, for their commitment to the revolution and for making this wonderful program available to our small school. For more information about their program, please visit their website at: http://www.revfoods.com/

We would also like to thank St. Vrain Community Montessori School. We were too small to serve as our own "drop off site," and SVCM has graciously allowed us to use their location during the school year. Thank you so much for your kindness!

Finally, I wanted to thank my husband, Josh, for spending the weekend installing the new stove at the school and doing the vent and HVAC work to make this possible.


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