Many students nationwide have adapted to eating whole-grain breads, including pizza crusts, in schools, but school nutrition professionals say it has been more challenging to get students to eat whole-grain pastas. In this commentary, several Utah cooks and health experts offer tips, such as considering options other than whole-wheat pasta, offering various shapes, hiding whole-grain pasta in a casserole or other dishes and introducing children to bold flavors.
Grilling can be a healthier way to prepare meats and fish because the high heat reduces fat, but dietitians recommend taking precautions, such as precooking meat in the oven, to reduce carcinogens that occur as part of the grilling process. Keeping the grill clean also helps, and registered dietitian Karen Hosterman-Sabel says marinades can protect meat during grilling while adding flavor.
The director of student nutrition in a Kansas school district recently issued a districtwide challenge in which fourth- and fifth-grade classes were asked to plan their own school lunch. As part of the project, students were tasked with meeting federal meal standards and adhering to strict calorie and budget limitations. The project helped teach students about nutrition and also gave school-nutrition professionals some insight into what students want to eat, such as watermelon and strawberries.
Instead of banning pizza from a diet, think of it as a food with healthy possibilities, registered dietitian Keri Gans writes. Homemade pizza may be the healthiest choice, Gans writes, but even when ordering at a restaurant, ask for vegetables instead of meats, go for a whole-wheat thin crust and swap ricotta for mozzarella cheese to reduce calories.
A typical pasta salad -- made with mayonnaise and white-flour macaroni -- isn't really a healthy dish. It's easy to up the nutritional value, however, by substituting ingredients. Using whole-wheat or multigrain pasta, reduced-fat mayonnaise and plain, nonfat yogurt is a start. You can also turn the side dish into a meal by adding tuna, diced chicken breast or small shrimp.