My mom is the food service Director for the entire Red Wing school district which includes elementary, middle and high schools. This is not an easy job and is often an industry that doesn’t get nearly enough credit. They are tasked with creating well-balanced meals to feed and please the challenged taste palate of a child. As if that wasn’t enough, they are faced with finding unique ways to get healthier foods into children’s stomachs. I am proud to share the below article that features my mom, Julie Haase! The article was published by the Republican Eagle and features what she is doing in Red Wing to help bring a more healthy well-balanced meal to the children. I think it is a great stride towards improving the health of our youth. A shout out goes to companies like ConAgra that take the time to train bakers on how to use whole grain in their products. This is a premium example of a great partnership and I hope this inspires other schools across the US to push forward, make some changes and help improve the health of America one step of a time!
GREAT JOB Mom!!
Follow Julie Haase on Twitter (@FSDInfo) for more information on Food Service in the Red Wing School District!
Here is the article:
If everything goes according to plan, Red Wing students probably won’t even notice how much healthier they will be eating this year.
The district’s baking staff received training this week from a food scientist who taught the intricacies of baking whole grain bread.
Once they’ve perfected the process, the bakers – who create all the district’s baked goods every morning at Sunnyside Elementary – will produce bread composed of 55 percent whole grain wheat.
The result will be a creamy golden-tinged bread that’s still sweet but rich in B vitamins and contains double the fiber of white bread, said Kurt Becker, a senior scientist with ConAgra.
He said that while it’s not stealth nutrition, the special blend is designed to be palatable for children.
“If we do it the way we’re supposed to, I don’t think they’ll pick up on anything at all,” Becker said of the change, which he said will include a slightly grainier consistency.
Becker said the term “whole grain” refers to how the wheat grain’s germ and the bran are included in the blending process. Though not whole wheat, the new district product – which is blended with 45 percent flour – will provide superior nutrition over white bread.
Red Wing School District Food Services Director Julie Haase contacted ConAgra after the bakers attempted to devise their own whole grain-blended bread last year.
“They said, ‘Hey, can you help us through with this?'” Becker said.
While it won’t take the bakers long to perfect the product, he said the process does present some challenges. The bakers this week learned some tricks about proper development of the dough.
Haase called the effort for whole-grain inclusion a proactive step in changing diets; the government has not required such a step as part of nutritional mandates.
Robin Nelson-Williams, head cook at Sunnyside, said she is pleased the schools are taking a lead role.
“I like to think that we are the ones starting it here because I know it’s not happening at home,” she said.
The district hopes to add whole-grain pasta noodles to its menu later this year, Nelson-Williams said.