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Life Time Foundation Salutes Three of its School Lunch Heroes Across the Nation

Posted: May 3, 2019 in Chains

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Life Time FoundationLife Time Foundation

CHANHASSEN, MN – The Life Time Foundation, a public charity founded by Life Time to improve school nutrition across the country, is recognizing its incredible partners in celebration of School Lunch Hero Day (May 3). Lunch Hero Day, created by the School Nutrition Association, provides an opportunity to highlight hardworking professionals making a difference for kids in school cafeterias.

As the Life Time Foundation has grown its partnerships with schools across the country, it’s critical to have nutrition leaders lead efforts in their districts to eliminate highly processed and artificial foods in favor of wholesome, real food alternatives. The Life Time Foundation refers to these ingredients as the Harmful 7, which include trans fats and hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, hormones and antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors, artificial preservatives and bleached flour. These leaders are also working diligently to increase scratch cooking and food education for their students.

The following School Lunch Heroes and all of the School Lunch Heroes across the nation working to serve our kids healthy and nutritious foods in school are to be commended for their efforts:

Emma Kitzman, Nutrition Services Supervisor – Tempe, Arizona School District

  • In two years, the district increased its clean menu percentage (items free of the Harmful 7) from 53% to 83%.
  • They did this through revising recipes, working with vendors and sourcing new clean products.
  • The district now make its own whole grain, scratch breakfast muffins, hand-wrapped burritos made with local ingredients and sources all natural turkey products and clean salad dressings. They’ve also cut out sugary cereals.

Glen Ritter, Food Service Director, Inver Grove Heights & South St. Paul Schools, Minnesota

  • In a year, the schools have increased their clean menu percentage from 32% to 49%.
  • They’ve introduced new scratch menu items like a breakfast burrito, a whole grain scratch mac and cheese, and a noodle bowl. They also added salad bars for their elementary schools.
  • The schools eliminated many a la carte items including chips, cookies, juices, sugary sodas, donuts and jello with whipped toppings.
  • They also put on a culinary training for their staff on roasting vegetables and knife skills.

Anneliese Tanner, Nutrition and Food Services Director – Austin Independent School District, Texas

  • The district is now 90% free from the Harmful 7 ingredients by working with vendors to remove harmful ingredients, increasing scratch cooking and sourcing clean products.
  • They introduced new clean breakfast items including self-serve yogurt parfaits and oatmeal bars, healthy breakfast cereals, as well as sourced local bread and tortillas.
  • They started healthy vending machines, and serve clean burritos and burgers from food trucks that travel from school to school. Salad bars are offered daily at all schools and breakfast is served in the classroom at all elementary schools. Staff are also regularly trained by their district chef and dietitian.

This year alone, more than 310,000 students at 544 schools will be served 44 million healthy meals as a result of the Life Time Foundation’s support. This is done through financial assistance in the form of grants for needs such as equipment, staff training, and marketing and education so that students better understand the value of eating real, wholesome foods.

For more information on the Life Time Foundation and its work with school districts, visit www.ltfoundation.org. Additional information can be found by calling 952-229-7226.

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