Schools chefs inspire healthy ideas for meals

By Lia

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) - School will be back in session in just a matter of days, and already Colleton County High School's kitchen was sizzling with fresh new recipes.

School food workers from the school district, Colleton Preparatory Academy and the Lowcountry Head Start, all participated in food training at Colleton County High School.

"Eat Smart, Move More," Colleton County's "Let's Go! Healthy Community Project" sponsored the event. The project is funded by a grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation. The purpose of the project is to combat childhood obesity in Colleton County by promoting nutrition and physical fitness.

Program director, Melissa Buckner says the food service training comes at an ideal time.

"The USDA has new regulations for food service departments and so those new regulations include incorporating more fresh fruit and vegetables, and so this training is actually helping to provide the food service staff with those skills," she said.

Clemson University provided the recipes in the kitchen, with members of their "Cooking with a Chef" program.

"It's eight hours of hands-on applied nutrition," Associate Professor," Marge Condrasky said.

The cooks learned to cook with the fresh ingredients and using more greens. They made pasta salad, lean meatballs, and assorted vegetable display.

"We are seeing less sodium being allowed in school lunch which is a great idea and good for everybody and we are discussing ways to flavor foods with herbs and seasonings and other ingredients and not miss the sodium we may have had in food," she said.

One food employee of 20 years says it may be a challenge for the kids to adjust to the new taste.

"They're used to the old way and it takes a lot of time and effort to get anybody to change," food-service worker, Faye Reeves said. "That's why we are here for the kids to change their eating habits and encourage us as adults to eat healthier."

Eat Smart, Move More is also sponsoring a training for public school teachers next week. That training will focus on promoting nutrition and physical fitness in the classroom. It will also focus on employee wellness.