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Schools Serve Healthier Meals, More Students

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools train students to eat and cook healthier while adding more who purchase school lunches.

Kristen Hennessey, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools director of food services, told the Board of Education about initiatives to get students to cook and eat healthier at Tuesday night's meeting.

Chef Paul Penney trained middle school students at cooking workshops, she said. Students worked in teams at cooking stations to learn and create their own recipes. Hennessey said she hopes to also get him involved with high school students at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

Before the meeting, the Board members ate items from the school lunch menu.

"It's nice to see that this is what the students are eating," said Treasurer Barry Simescu, who had a quinoa dish, a student-created recipe that won first place at the district's Ready-Set-Cook program. 

The district went from serving 8,393 meals daily to 10,329 meals since 2009, Hennessey said. 

"That means we're going in the right direction and we're fulfilling the needs of our students," she said.

Secretary Judy Mardigian asked Hennessey about starting a school garden to further engage students. Hennessey said she was all for the idea and would need to look into potential locations. 

Because of new national meal regulations that began in January, lunches cost the district $.10 more per meal. New requirements include serving only fat-free or low fat milk and increasing the amount of whole grains. 

Other items in the food services report:

  • PCCS combined with Livonia Public Schools to create a unified team of more than 200 food and nutrition professionals. 
  • A goal for 2013 is to complete six student taste tests for lunch menu items.
  • The district passed the audited coordinated review by the Michigan Department of Education. 
Pccs student October 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM
The reason the school lunches are up is because the food service is forcing the us to buy a FULL lunch and not letting us buy ala cart items anymore!
jones October 26, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Plus the economy is bad and more kids are on free and reduced lunch.
and sek October 28, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Processed, empty calorie white bread products, no thank you. I think I'll stick to packing my kids' lunch even with the new changes. Oh and whole dairy products are not the problem... kids' need the more fat than adults for brain development!

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