PCRM Seeks Nominees for 2006 Golden Carrot Awards
Does your child come home from school raving about the veggie burger or three-bean chili she had for lunch? Not likely. Most schools still focus on cheese pizza, burgers, and similar high-fat fare. But a few schools do, in fact, serve healthful food, including vegetarian options. To recognize these leaders, PCRM is seeking nominations for its annual Golden Carrot Awards.
PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM is particularly interested in schools that provide plenty of low-fat, vegan, whole grain, and nondairy options.
“We want to recognize schools tackling the link between childhood obesity and the high-fat, artery-clogging food typically served in the lunchroom,” says nutritionist Dulcie Ward, R.D., who coordinates PCRM’s Healthy School Lunch Campaign.
Schools will also be recognized for incorporating plant-based commodity foods into their menus, promoting healthy choices—by serving healthy food a la carte and in vending machines or limiting high-fat products, for example—and offering nutrition education programs.
Last year’s Golden Carrot Award grand prize winner was Susan Wolfe-Hill, a chef and head of the food service program at Poughkeepsie Day School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. At least half of the choices on the school menu are vegan, and all the soups and stews are homemade. Some typical menu items include Louisiana-style red beans and brown rice, penne with broccoli, and butternut squash soup.
Elsewhere, typical school lunch menus are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. The government’s own School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study has found that an astonishing 80 percent of schools serve too much fatty food in the lunch line to comply with federal guidelines.
Kids who eat a healthy vegetarian diet have lower risks of high cholesterol, heart disease, and many types of cancer. Healthy school lunches could also help curb childhood obesity, which affects as many as five million youths ages six to 17.
The grand prize for the Golden Carrot Awards is $5,000, with $1,500 going to the food service professional and $3,500 going to the school’s food service program. Up to four additional $1,000 awards will be given to other winners. All nominations must be received by Sept. 18, 2006.
To see all of the nomination guidelines and to download a nomination form, please visit www.HealthySchoolLunches.org.