November 9, 2015

School Food Trucks Promoting Healthy Eating

Cafeteria food doesn't top anyone's list of favorite foods.

Cafeteria food doesn’t top anyone’s list of favorite foods.

High school students don’t exactly have the palate of a Boulder culinary school grad. When given the choice to bring a mushed peanut butter and jelly sandwich from home, grab a tray and take a gamble at the school’s special that day or wander off campus to grab a Big Mac, most high school students will choose the Big Mac. Boulder Valley School District is attempting to change that.

BVSD food truck
According to The Atlantic, last year, BVSD began serving school lunches at a food truck with a $75,000 grant from Whole Foods Market. Designed as a cross between a rustic farmhouse and a milk truck, with music playing, the truck was parked outside of the school and also joined in on field trips and sports outings to serve students lunch or dinner. The truck focused on serving healthy, antibiotic-free meals.

Two years ago, the healthier lunches in the cafeteria only attracted 35 percent of Boulder Valley’s students, and only 15 percent of its high school students, according to the Denver Post..

The school district and select local chefs have a partnership to develop healthy recipes and support local farmers and artisans by using their goods. Bertrand Weber, the director of food services at BVSD , worked with chefs at Boulder-area restaurants to develop new recipes. Dishes like the new brown rice carnitas bowl, orange chicken bowl, curry chicken bowl and beet hummus have proven to be hits.

In just the first three weeks of the 2015-2016 school year, 28,000 pounds of local produce was served at BVSD, according to The Atlantic. The food truck serves the same food as the cafeteria, at the same prices. However, students seem to enjoy eating at the food truck more. Even kids who regularly at lunch off campus are beginning to eat at the food truck instead.

The food truck is only equipped with a food warmer, refrigerator and sink, so the lunches aren’t prepared on the truck. With the help of the school cafeteria, it’s capable of serving up to 700 students in just 90 minutes when parked on campus

The slow-food movement in schools, like Italy and France is becoming more and more popular in United States schools. Established in 2010, the growing popularity of the Farm to School movement shows that more and more kids are apt to eat school lunches if they’re healthy and unprocessed, with 42,000 schools participating in the program nationwide. School districts in Minnesota, Vermont and Texas are starting to have healthy food trucks to cater to their students now as well.