Schools Start Cooking from Scratch Again

After years of serving factory-made food to students, Colorado schools have found an affordable way to offer healthy, freshly cooked meals.
by | August 25, 2011 AT 4:00 PM

The days of sitting down with a lunch tray and wondering what exactly the meat patty is made out of are over for some Colorado public school students. In Greeley, where more than half the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, the district has called in a professional chef to teach food-service staff how to cook healthy meals from scratch. As of this year, freshly prepared food is all that will be served, reports the New York Times. The switch sounds expensive, but it's actually not. The district is financing most of the $360,000 startup costs with a $273,000 grant from a nonprofit. According to the district's Director of Nutrition Services, Jeremy West, the change reduces labor and supply costs. For example, offering a salad bar instead of individually, prepackaged servings of fruits and vegetables saves the school from paying for the packaging, West told Governing. The food will contain less ingredients and more natural nutrients than processed food. One bean burrito last year held more than 35 ingredients; this year's burritos will have only 12.