Remember when school lunches consisted of mystery meat, mystery vegetables, a peanut butter cookie and a carton of milk? Of course, I jest--a little, but it is good to know that kids today are being served lunches that are not only more nutritious, but visually appealing and delicious. These meals help ensure that kids will eat their lunch and schools can help prevent childhood obesity, which affects 1 in 3 children in the US.
Eat Fit NOLA, a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health System, has teamed up with Pigeon Catering & Events to bring more nutritious meals to students, offering Eat Fit on the menus of 12 local schools.
Founded in 2013 by Ochsner Fitness Center Registered Dietitian Molly Kimball, the Eat Fit team of dietitians works closely with local restaurants, markets and now foodservice partners, like Pigeon, to help make the healthy choice an easy choice throughout our community.
One of the essential building blocks to raising strong and confident youth is teaching them how to fuel their body with foods that nourish, energize and empower them to live well. The Eat Fit nutritional criteria translate into meals and snacks designed to nourish growing bodies, boost brain function and focus, enhance mental and physical performance, promote a healthy mood and support a healthy immune system.
On October 3, we were joined in-studio by Eat Fit NOLA Ambassador Emily Eickhoff who told us how this exciting new partnership came about, and by Chef Geoffrey Rhode who prepared some of his classic school lunch “remakes” including Eat Fit mini pizzas on whole grain bagels or English Muffins and “Chicken Tender Tuesdays” featuring grilled chicken strips with whole grain mac & cheese with a homemade cheese sauce that Pigeon Catering developed specifically for EatFitNOLA.
Eat Fit items are identified directly on school menus with the Ochsner Eat Fit seal of approval. Parents and students can also download the Eat Fit smartphone app for full nutrition facts for the daily and weekly Eat Fit school menus, and also access the hundreds of Eat Fit home recipes, community wellness resources and opportunities to connect with a health professional in your area.
Participating schools include:
Audubon Charter Lower School
Audubon Charter Upper School
De La Salle High School
Holy Name of Jesus School
Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orléans -- Monroe campus
Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orléans – Patton campus
Morris Jeff Community School
Morris Jeff High School
Mount Carmel Academy
St Paul Episcopal School
So the next time you're running late and might feel a little guilty about not preparing your child's school lunch, know that they will be able to eat the healthy and fun meals they like thanks to our friends at EatFitNOLA and Pigeon Catering.
For more information on Eat Fit and where you can find Eat Fit offerings in your region, download the Eat Fit smartphone app and visit www.OchsnerEatFit.com.
Portions of information contained within this blog appear courtesy of EatFitNOLA.