School lunch serves up state's best

Colorado Proud Day mixes healthy eating with ag products

Posted 9/10/14

Mammoth Elementary School students could scarcely wait to get up close and personal with Parker mayor Mike Waid and Douglas County School Board president Kevin Larsen.

But the sixth graders weren't seeking autographs from their elected leaders …

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School lunch serves up state's best

Colorado Proud Day mixes healthy eating with ag products

Posted

Mammoth Elementary School students could scarcely wait to get up close and personal with Parker mayor Mike Waid and Douglas County School Board president Kevin Larsen.

But the sixth graders weren't seeking autographs from their elected leaders — they wanted cookies.

Waid and Larsen doled out chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies to the students Sept. 10 to help celebrate Colorado Proud School Meal Day, an annual recognition of the state's agriculture and nutritious food sponsored by the state departments of agriculture and education.

The school served a special menu that day that included a Colorado-beef burger, San Luis Valley-grown potato wedges, a salad bar filled with Colorado produce, Rocky Ford watermelon and cookies made by an Aurora company.

In addition to their home state origins, the cookies had another unique attribute: They were healthy. Made with whole grains, the dessert was low in sugar and fat.

Student reviews were unanimously favorable.

“Those were awesome,” said Richard White.

“I love `em,” said Riley McPherson, who went back to the line for a second cookie. “I really liked how they were especially chewy.”

“The cookies were the best I ever had,” said Lola Baker.

Such words are sweet as sugar to Douglas County School District Executive Chef Jason Morse, who never stops looking for ways to make school lunches grow in taste and nutrition but shrink in sugar and fat quantity. Desserts are particularly challenging.

“We know kids are going to eat cookies; parents know they're going to eat cookies,” he said, adding that when they are made with the right balance of taste and quality ingredients, “kids don't notice they're whole grain.”

Agribusinesses contribute more than $40 billion to Colorado's economy annually and provide more than 170,000 jobs. Colorado is home to more than 37,000 farms and ranches encompassing 31 million acres.

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