Teaching Kitchen & Dining Room
Our building renovations to be completed by August 2012 will add a teaching kitchen and dining room to our current space.
The guiding principles for our new teaching kitchen and dining room are as follows:
1. The kitchen does not operate as a cafeteria with an array of unhealthy choices, but rather like the dining hall of a small camp. Research shows that people eat healthier if there are no unhealthy options. Only one type of balanced meal should be prepared family-style, and it should be complemented daily by a salad bar.
2. The dining area for students is not separate from the adults’ eating space but instead promotes communal eating. The seating layout resembles a cafe as much as possible. Instead of using fold-up equipment that evokes institutional mess halls, tables should enrich the family-style atmosphere.
3. Students are as involved as possible in the preparation, service and clean-up of food. This approach builds the students’ investment in the facility and in the entire process, reinforcing the family experience. Students here will learn about nutritious meals, how to prepare them on a budget, and how to cook them. This method also ensures that fewer school resources are devoted to cafeteria workers. Students will receive internship credit for this unpaid work. Berea College has pioneered this approach for over a century whereby students, working under the direction of a chef, staff their dining services.
4. All meals should be healthy in accordance with our Junk Food Free Policy. Meals should include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat breads and pasta, no fried foods, less than 400mg of sodium per meal, and no cooking with trans or saturated fats.
5. Students should prepare a daily healthy snack. Snacks, such as hummus, and smoothies, are prepared by students every afternoon. We use innovative methods to promote healthy fruits and vegetables, such as contests in removing and artistically reconfiguring clementine peels.
We believe that our vision for dining halls in public schools will address the nation’s obesity epidemic by promote healthy habits in our youth.