As part of a USDA Team Nutrition grant with the Department of Education’s Bureau of Nutrition, Health and Transportation Services, HRIM students enrolled in the Quantity Food Production Laboratory (Tearoom) will be involved with testing of new “chef inspired” standardized recipes this spring. Many of these recipes were used in regional trainings with ISU Extension Nutrition and Health Educators as part of a previous HRIM Extension Team Nutrition grant last spring.
The current project began with development of a 5-week seasonal cycle menu which met Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 goals of increased fruits, vegetables and legumes, and decreased amounts of fat and sodium. The cycle menu was created by a committee consisting of representatives from ISU Extension, the Bureau, Child Nutrition Program Directors in several Iowa districts, and a chef in late fall. Goals for the menu planning phase were to meet Institute of Medicine recommendations, requirements for US Healthier School Challenge, and Dietary Goals for Americans 2005 while incorporating commodity and locally grown foods.
The HRIM Extension group, Specialist Catherine Strohbehn and graduate student Amy Casselman, along with the assistance of two dietetic interns (Jessica Swanson and Courtney Slater) have standardized and pre-tested many of the chef’s recipes and tweaked older USDA school meal program recipes to be more contemporary. Working with John Kramer, coordinator of the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom, days for testing of the menu items were identified. Testing began after spring break and will continue through the end of the semester in the labs taught by HRIM faculty John Kramer and Lakshman Rajagopal with teaching assistants Kelly Mayfield, Allan Ortiz, and Ju Yup Lee.
About 40 menu items will be tested. Some new items appearing on the Tearoom menu this spring include Fish Tacos, Chicken Chipotle Burrito with Pineapple Mango Salsa, Broccoli Frittata, White Chili, and Honey Mustard Deli Wrap. Students will follow the developed standardized recipes and provide feedback on the clarity of directions, accuracy in yield projections, and cooking times and temperatures. Students will also provide feedback on acceptability of the product. The project allows students to experience why menu planning, product planning, cost controls and evaluation – all management principles that are outcomes for the quantity food production laboratory – are important and allow for project coordinators to better understand their perspectives on acceptability of menu items for healthy lunches in K-12 school districts.