Local organization puts spotlight on school food | ParkRecord.com

Local organization puts spotlight on school food

Eat Awesome Things at School, a local organization designed to help Park City school cafeterias serve healthy food, discovered a hard truth when it began working with schools and students last year: Getting students to try new foods is easier said than done.

"We found that if we overhauled everything and said, ‘Great, we’re going to be feeding you this,’ students went, ‘Great, we’re not going to eat it,’" said Lisa Allison, a member of the EATS leadership team.

Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the organization, in its second year of existence, from making plenty of headway. Allison said EATS has held taste tests to see what kinds of healthy foods students like, has had a hand in the success of a student garden at Ecker Hill Middle School and has established a program where one meal a week is made from scratch at Trailside Elementary, among other achievements.

It’s all part of the organization’s mission to help students on their way to a healthy lifestyle that will last long after they leave the halls of Park City schools.

"We know if we teach them healthy habits now, healthy children generally go on to be healthy adults," Allison said. "So if we can teach them tools of the trade, so to speak, hopefully they can carry them forward."

One of EATS’ biggest goals is to enlist the help of parents throughout the district. While acknowledging the financial constraints that make it difficult for some families to eat locally grown, healthy food, Allison encouraged parents to make an effort to cook nutritious meals at home.

"We know if kids and parents sit down and cook a meal and eat it, there’s a better chance that the kids will eat more nutritious meals," she said.

The reception so far from parents has been positive.

"It hasn’t been nearly the hurdle that getting kids to try new things has been," Allison said.

In conjunction with National School Lunch Week next week, EATS will be holding several events throughout the district, including a tomato taste test at Jeremy Ranch Elementary Oct. 14. For more information, visit eatsparkcity.org.

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