Sam Kass greets students in Florida cooking healthy meals

Late last month, Sam Kass, the Senior Policy Adviser for the Healthy Food Initiatives program, and the USDA’s deputy under secretary, Dr. Janey Thornton, visited Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida to participate in pilot efforts of Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools program.

Florida’s Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) district is the tenth largest school district in the nation, serving more than 25 million lunches each year. Since last October, eleven schools in the OCPS district have been participating in a launch project for the Chefs Move program to offer creative, healthy meals to students that also meet kids’ standards for taste. The meals have been designed to add more vegetables, reduce fat and caloric intake during this trial run, and the final selections will be rolled out to schools throughout the district.

The USDA will be working to pair regional chefs with local schools and already more than 2,000 schools and 1,500 chefs have signed on for the initiative across the country.

After President Obama signed into law the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, The White House released sample school lunch menu item recipes, which influenced the meal selections at OCPS.

During Kass’s visit, nine students along with partner chefs, cooked tilapia fish tacos with carrots, cabbage and avocado, tabouli chicken salad with tomato, olive oil and feta cheese, and made fruit roll ups from melons, strawberries and pineapple in the high school’s auditorium in front a crowd of fellow students, parents, teachers and the Senior Policy Advisor, who said of the demonstrations, ” This is exactly what it is all about. It’s more than I dreamed–young people taking ownership and leadership in accomplishing the First Lady’s goals.”

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Photo: dcfoodforall