Cecily Walters 2012-12-22 19:58:38
This Month’s Guest Donnie Barclift School Nutrition has launched this new column to introduce you to a variety of school nutrition leaders, friends and advocates who are making their voices heard for healthy kids. Meet Donnie Barclift, school nutrition field supervisor, Oakland (Calif.) Unified School District, the winner of Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Healthy School Meals Contest, presented by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Ray’s Yum-o! and SNA. At the heart of his winning menu is a recipe for Pozole con Pesado, which incorporates a hominy soup that is a particular favorite of Barclift’s Hispanic student customers. [Editors’ Note: To view the recipe, see www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazinebonuscontent.] What are your favorite aspects of working in school nutrition? My favorite aspect is the impact that we have on shaping the good eating habits of our young people. We also impact adults through our work. I know I have changed some of my own habits to more healthier and nutritious ones. How does your team develop healthy recipe ideas for menu inclusion? We collaborate with other districts and school nutrition professionals and listen to what kids tell us they want to see on the menu and look for ways to produce it in a nutritious and healthy manner. We have taken ideas from magazines, websites and cooking shows and adapted some things for our menus. We have a great partner in the Center for Ecoliteracy, which has helped us with research and has assisted in [conducting] cooking classes for our staff. What are some other healthy menu items that are student favorites? Pizza—[several] of our cooking kitchens make them fresh, using whole-grain crust. Some have even learned to make great pizzas without cheese. [Also popular]: Hand-rolled chicken enchiladas, tofu and bean enchiladas, baked tofu teriyaki rice bowl and whole-grain pasta with meat sauce made with ground What do you value about your SNA membership? I love the collaboration and the conferences. You really get to know and work with lots of terrific people, and it doesn’t feel like a competition, as in the private sector. Everyone is pulling together, sharing ideas for the purpose of raising the bar on the health of our nation. When any of us experience a win, we all can share in it and learn from it, take it back and use it to make our programs better. As winner of the Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Healthy School Meals Contest, you went to New York City to see her show. What was that like? It was my first time in New York, and it was much too short, but it was awesome! Rachael is so giving, and watching the show get taped from the front row was so cool. Getting to chat with her backstage and take a picture with her (above) was the chance of a lifetime. She thanked us for the work we’re doing, and we thanked her for all she is doing to aid child nutrition in schools. I am energized and challenged to do great things for the kids in our district! What is your favorite meal to cook at home? My kids love it when I make burritos or chili with cornbread, and they love my broccoli soup. How about your favorite birthday treat? Does Red Velvet Cake count? I would have to say blackened cat fish, roasted red potatoes with garlic and dill and sautéed petite green beans. And your favorite healthy food? Steel-cut oatmeal with dried fruit—I could eat that any time of the day.
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