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Wacky Wednesdays promote wellness

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
Every other Wednesday in the Rowan-Salisbury School System, Child Nutrition Services employees are cutting off their ovens and serving fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of offerings.
“We’re calling them Wacky Wednesdays,” said Libby Post, Child Nutrition director for the system. Two weeks ago, school cafeterias offered a choice of chef’s salad with ham and cheese or a turkey and cheese wrap.
Post said between 100 and 150 students at each school selected chef’s salad. They had a choice of two of the following sides: fresh carrot sticks, fresh apples and a brownie treat.
Most, as expected, opted for the brownie treat, which she said was more than half whole wheat. “But they didn’t know that.”
This Wednesday’s entrees included Caesar salad with chicken tenders or pizza rollup with a choice of two sides from fresh carrot sticks, fresh apples and a pretzel treat.
Post, who visited Southeast and Knox middle schools and Overton Elementary, said students seemed surprised that the chicken tenders were cold. “I just heard, ‘Oh, it’s cold,’ ” she said.
The Salisbury Post received a call from someone outside the school saying that students at Faith Elementary were asking teachers to heat their chicken tenders in microwaves and throwing them away because they were cold.
Libby Post said she heard the same thing, “but if you ask the kids and get the kids’ input, they seemed to really like it.”
Post said she also received positive feedback from teachers. “I had Mrs. (Dinah) Carpenter at Overton walk up to me and say, ‘This was a wonderful thing,’ ” she said. ” ‘It gives kids a chance to eat more salads.’ ”
To make Wacky Wednesdays even more fun for students, Post said the food service staff wear “wacky hats” in the serving line.
“We’re just trying some new things,” she said. “As it gets colder, we’ll do some soups. We’re all going to use that as our day to experiment.
“When you try new things on the menu, you’ll have some that fare better than others, but we’re trying. We try to mimic what the kids eat outside of school and make it healthier.”
Post said Child Nutrition Services offers a wide variety of entrees and sides all the time, including Mexican, Chinese and foods of other cultures.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System posts menus on its Web site so parents and students can check it ahead of time and know what’s being served on any particular day.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.

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