Not Villains But Heroes: Skyline senior changes tune on school meal program

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Brenda Benitez, a senior at Skyline High School, spent the summer as a Mayor’s Summer Intern with the Dallas ISD Food and Child Nutrition Services department. She wrote the following blog post.

I always assumed our school meals program focused on preparing and serving foods that would get us through the line quickly, not caring if it was good or not.  Of course, I didn’t try everything and I did have some favorites on the menu, but this was my train of thought.

IMG_20150720_100218I wasn’t concerned about who fed us. I, like many of my friends, just thought the school food was not good and blamed the district. I often complained and nagged, never taking the time to figure out why certain foods are offered and how the school lunch menu is planned. My friends and I didn’t understand why they couldn’t serve what we want, like donuts and ice cream for lunch every day.

Thankfully, the Dallas ISD Food and Child Nutrition Services (FCNS) always makes sure they’re fueling students with healthy meals to prepare them for learning – that’s their goal – and they do care about serving foods the students like.

My thinking on school meals has changed as a result of spending most of my summer working at the Maria Luna Facility, where FCNS lives. All the employees here work hard and operate with energy to make school meals healthy and exciting, so the whole “nasty” concept can stay in the past. Some of the projects they work on include:

  • Summer Food Service Program, where community kids and youth can receive free meals when school is out;
  • Harvest of the Month Program, which incorporates fresh Texas-grown produce into the menu each month;
  • Recipe testing: Over the summer, the nutrition team tests nutritious recipes to ensure the meals are flavorful. The menu offers a variety!

The FCNS team are my heroes! They care about our health and well-being and constantly work to offer us nutritious meals we’ll enjoy eating.  If it wasn’t for them watching over our school meals, I can’t imagine what school lunch would really be like.

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