Innovative school program promotes healthy eating

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — A local school is taking part in a new and innovative lunch program that brings real chefs to the cafeteria.

At Crosby Elementary, first graders dined on chicken teriyaki during their lunch hour. Sounds like an experience at a fancy restaurant, but Thursday, that’s what was served up at this elementary school.

“Today is kind of like a special day for me,” said First grader Orion Johnson.

Johnson couldn’t wait to try what the chef cooked up, which organizers say is the whole point of Project Bread.

“We’re introducing them to new foods and creating a culture of, ‘let’s try something today,'” said Project Bread Chef Sam Icklan.

Project Bread was created in 2006 and relies on sponsors like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to serve healthy foods in public schools, prepared by professional chefs.

Cafeteria staff learn how to make the meals and “market” them in a more kid friendly way. The point is to open young eyes to new, healthy eating experiences.

“We believe that good food is for everybody and we look at different ways to break down barriers,” Icklan said.

The Pittsfield mayor says that another important aspect is educating children about alternative eating options.

“I think it’s really important in a community like Pittsfield, an urban community, that we continue to give kids the opportunity to learn about healthy choices,” Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer said.

Each student also went home with a recipe and a coupon for the Pittsfield Farmer’s Market to bring home, along with their, hopefully, new attitude about eating well.

“I love broccoli,” said First grader Dominic Moreau

The chef says that even though not every student will share in the enthusiasm, overall the feedback has been positive.

“I will get emails from their parents like, what did you do with the broccoli that made my kid eat it?” Icklan said.

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