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St. Augustin school hosts event promoting better diet

Representatives from several metro-area Catholic schools gathered recently to learn about healthy lunch options for the new school year.

St. Augustin hosted the 2014-15 session of a USDA continuing education program. Two guest speakers presented classes during the event.

Chef Sheree Clark, host of the KCWI-TV show “The Fork in the Road,” explained and demonstrated how to prepare raw fruits and vegetables in different ways. Food consultant Nancy Christensen discussed how to manage food costs and reduce waste in school lunch programs.

St. Augustin food service director Pam Moore said it is important that tips for healthy eating be provided to schools’ culinary staffs and also parents.

“Educating the food staff is only part of the health and wellness program. Sharing this information with other school faculty, parents and families is all part of the health and wellness program and is information that everyone can use,” Moore said.

Food directors from two other schools also spoke during the session. Molly Ryan from Dowling, and Becky Greiner from Sacred Heart discussed tips on serving food, sanitation and the wellness policy followed by local Catholic schools.

St. Augustin won a blue ribbon in the U.S. Healthier School Challenge in 2011. Moore and principal Nancy Dowdle traveled to Washington, D.C. that summer and met Michelle Obama as part of the program.

Moore said the kids wonder why she chooses to provide salads with romaine and spinach each day. The salads also contain red bell peppers, baby carrots and grape tomatoes. It’s all part of a push to eat healthy.

“I asked the St. Augustin third-, fourth- and fifth-graders to write essays telling why dark-green, red and orange vegetables are healthy for us, and what good things they do for our bodies. Their essays became part of our learning wall so they could learn, see and taste the vegetables for a well-rounded experience,” she said.

Sarah DeAngelis’ daughter, Charlotte, was one of the St. Augustin students who wrote an essay on vegetables.

“As a parent, I can say that Mrs. Moore’s daily lessons on nutrition really make a difference in my family. We discuss the food pyramid, making good choices, etc. at the dinner table frequently,” DeAngelis said. “My daughter wrote an essay on a dark, leafy green, and she chose my favorite vegetable, kale. As part of her research she tried a bit of kale and now asks for it in her nightly salad.”

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