• Southwest Foodservice Excellence

    Contact Person: Sarah Drayton, RD, Nutrition Coordinator III
    Contact Number: 314-381-4155

    Program: Healthy Lifestyle marketing campaign

    Description: The campaign is implemented each spring in our school cafeterias. It features colorful signs, posters and activity pages that promote the health benefits of eating plant-based proteins and other vegetarian meals once or twice a week. Menu items are often featured with plant-based protein options such as hummus or various beans. Our managers have given in-classroom presentations on healthy eating habits with veggie and humus samples as well.

    Program: Chef 2 School and Roving Chefs

    Description: Under this program, guest chefs adopt a local school district. The chef then makes planned visits to designated schools for the purpose of creating a focus on healthy meals while helping to educate students about sound eating habits and food preparation. In the past two years, SLPS has featured over 60 of these chef visits and impacted over 300 students and has plans to continue to grow the program to include more chefs in the St. Louis area. During the 2012-13 school year, three of these Chef 2 School events included in-kitchen cooking classes with students. Last school year, the Chef 2 School program was expanded to include the Roving Chefs program, which utilizes district chefs who were hired to remain within the Saint Louis Public School district. Incorporating hired district chefs ensures the chefs are available at the district’s convenience since they do not have other community obligations, which was a scheduling obstacle for the district when they used volunteer chefs. As a part of the Roving Chefs program, there will be an annual cooking competition that challenges teams of high-school students to create healthy school meals that meet nutrition standards, draw from ingredients commonly available to food service, and can be easily prepared in a school kitchen. As a part of this competition, students will be asked to prepare at least one vegetarian or vegan meal. During the 2014-2015 school year, the Roving Chefs program will feature a vegetarian item. The program will be offered at all three levels: elementary, middle and high. Check out this flyer from the Roving Chef Program hosted by Meramec Elementary School on March 11, 2015.

    Program: Chef Manny Panda’s Healthy Cafe

    Description: Targeted to elementary school students, this program aims to promote vegetable and fruit consumption through an engaging, kid-friendly presentation. Members of the SFE staff dress up as various characters or “role models” and interact with the students during their meal time. The role models will provide students with information about the importance of eating fruit and vegetables while handing out samples of fruit and/or vegetables to students to try while they eat their lunch. Each of the five role models- DJ Cheetah, Heather the Hawk, Holly Kangaroo, Lindsay Lamb and Rex Raccoon, promote a different message about positive lifestyle habits. Please see Appendix B for more information about the role models program.

    Program: Grab n’ Go Program

    Description: In order to increase participation in breakfast while encouraging healthy eating habits, salad bars allow for grab and go options at the school sites. This program ensures students choose a healthy eating option from a mobile cart, which will ensure every student is able to get something to eat, even if they are too late to make the breakfast line.

    Rainbows & Butterflies

    Pre- K students learn about the differences between fruits and vegetables while building a colorful rainbow and butterfly using fruits and vegetables.

    Nutrition Education Program:

    Through this program all grade groups learn about different topics related to health and nutrition and engage in either a taste testing and/or hands-on activity.  Some topics include MyPlate basics, The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables, and Whole Grains. Curriculum has been formulated by The Health and Nutrition Team of SFE for all grade levels.

    Taste Testing’s:

    Taste testing allows for students to try different food items that they may not be familiar with and experiment with new foods.


    Focus Groups:

    Focus groups allow all SFE staff to get great feedback related to the menus from students. Focus groups are typically 10-12 students at a time and are offered for each grade level.

    Get Fit Program:

    Through the GetFit Program students can become more active while at school. SFE’s signature DJ Cheetah comes and visits the schools and teaches the students different exercises that they can do throughout the school year.