A week after releasing an in-depth analysis of school cafeteria menus from around the province, New Brunswick’s doctors and dietitians are recognizing schools serving exceptional food with a “Where to Eat” guide. The guide is the final component of this year’s Make Menus Matter project, undertaken jointly by the New Brunswick Medical Society and NB Dietitians in Action. Schools featured in the guide will receive a certificate to display in their cafeteria.
“We wanted to draw attention to the schools which are doing a great job serving tasty, nutritious foods to our students,” said Dr. Camille Haddad, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “By sharing their stories, we hope to see their models adopted at other schools around the province.”
Many of the highlighted schools focus on sourcing their food locally and preparing meals on-site. Some partnered with registered dietitians when designing their menu.
“The secret to these schools’ success is not dependent on a rural or urban divide, size of school, or age of the children,” said Vanessa Yurchesyn, Co-Chair of NB Dietitians in Action. “The schools that are doing well are often focused not only on providing wholesome food to students, but also on educating them about where it comes from.”
Regional specialties featured prominently on many menus, with several Acadian favourites making repeat appearances.
“When deciding which schools to include in the guide, we focused on schools that both meet nutritional guidelines and include a food awareness component in their lunch programs,” said Ms. Yurchesyn. “Many of these schools involve students in meal preparation and even grow some produce on-site.”
Featured schools and organizations include the Réseau des cafétérias communautaires, Cédici, Eel Ground First Nation School, and Cambridge-Narrows Community School.
The Make Menus Matter project started a conversation about school menu offerings among both parents and students. Parents were invited to send a photo of their child’s menu to contribute to an analysis of over 100 menus, while students were invited to share a photo of their lunch over social media channels and tag it with #whatiate.
“We’re very pleased with the interest we’ve received over the course of this project,” said Dr. Haddad. “We hope our findings lead to improvements in the quality of food our children are being served at school.”
Media contact: Aleisha Bosch, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506)458-8860, firstname.lastname@example.org