Photo by John Rigg
Students provided with new healthy options
The journey of a Cy-Fair ISD student’s daily meal begins three to four weeks in advance when each school places its order with the district’s central food production facility.
CFISD, which serves more than 85,000 lunches and 25,000 breakfasts per day, operates a central production facility on Perry Road from which food is prepared and shipped daily to each campus in the district.
“This facility gives us the unique ability to produce in large quantities,” said Brent Trudeau, production manager and CFISD’s executive chef. “Our goal is to not only provide an average of 110,000–120,000 meals every day, but to provide items that students will enjoy and ultimately eat.”
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 implemented several nutrition initiatives and allows the USDA to make reforms to school’s lunch and breakfast programs. This year, the district has added various menu options that are whole grain rich. Many of these items are prepared from scratch daily in the bakery department, Trudeau said. Additional new food options include a selection of five entree salads—which now have 100 percent romaine lettuce or a romaine–spinach blend—low fat milk, and a ban on fried foods, said Darin Crawford, food service director.
“We have a history of menu innovation in [CFISD],” he said. “We have the opportunity to feed students nearly half of the meals that they will consume in a school year. It is our responsibility to make sure these meals are nutritious.”
The versatility of the central facility’s operations allows Trudeau and his team to give students an array of food options, he said. Several entree items have also changed in accordance with new requirements.
“One example is our pizza. This product uses a whole grain crust, low-fat mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni,” Crawford said. “All of these factors contribute to a product that is lower in fat and calories than a similar [product] you would buy at a traditional restaurant. Our menu continues to evolve as we strive to not only meet nutritional guidelines, but to do so in a manner that will result in students consuming these items.”
In addition to healthier food options, green efforts are in place at the central production facility and various campuses throughout the district. This involves the recycling of aluminum cans, cardboard, and 5 gallon buckets along with the use of biodegradable food trays and containers.
CFISD Food Production Facility, 11355 Perry Road, Houston, 281-897-4535, www.cfisd.net