Story by Meghann Condit

Moose Lake School, in partnership with the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Grant (a statewide effort to reduce obesity and tobacco use in Minnesota), is taking the initiative to improve the nutrition of their students. One might even call it the start to their own ‘food revolution’. They piloted a healthy snack cart program May 10-28, 2010, and will provided taste-testing in the cafeteria the week of May 24-28, 2010.

The school’s energetic wellness committee has developed an action plan of initiatives they would like to tackle over the next few years to make the school environment a healthier place to be. These programs range from setting a policy for healthy snacking to creating a community garden, and increasing the kitchen””classroom collaboration. Currently, the school is engaging in two action plans; healthy snacking and increasing healthy lunch options.

Becky Holt, Head Food Service Director for Moose Lake School, has been a key player in making these programs a success. Her willingness to help where needed, as well as her ideas for improvement has been over and above what has been asked. She exceeded everyone's expectations when she created the taste-testing program. After the recipes are tested they will hopefully then be incorporated into the lunch menu next year. Some of Jamie Oliver’s (from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”) recipes are going to be used, in addition to adding spinach, cucumbers, and low-fat cottage cheese to the salad line.

Kraig Konietzko, Elementary School Principal, has organized and implemented a healthy snack cart pilot for grades K-6. The snack cart comes to each classroom with a healthy snack once a day. After compiling evaluations, and seeing the success of the healthy snack cart, a policy is being developed for its use in classrooms next school year. Parents will pay a small fee to cover the cost of healthy snacks, this is about 24cents per student per day.

With other programs in the works, Moose Lake School is considered a pioneer in Northeast Minnesota when it comes to providing healthy food options for students and staff. With such an active wellness committee and action plan, there promises to be more great initiatives that the school community will benefit from in the future.

About the author: Meghann Condit works as a Health Educator for Carlton County Public Health and Human Servicesm, Minnesota

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