Curious fifth grade student Ailey Shollenberger from Corbell Elementary took her Quest independent study project to the District’s Child Nutrition Department and explored the possibility of adding a new item to the lunch menu in May.
Ailey, District Dietician Melissa Duce and the Corbell cafeteria staff cooked up a healthy helping of Fiesta Mac for fellow fifth grade students to taste-test.
Her healthy-meal initiative was sparked by noticing an increase in overweight and obese children in the U.S. with conditions like Type II Diabetes.
To act on this, Ailey reached out to Ms. Duce to discuss adding a healthy chili mac recipe she found online to the school’s menu.
The duo agreed on Fiesta Mac, an entrée that is both nutritional and easy to make with the ingredients approved and on-hand at the cafeteria.
Ailey passed out samples of the dish and surveys to get feedback on the recipe one day during lunch.
Through this project, Ailey learned that all recipes must meet federal nutrition guidelines and that many ingredients have substitutes that provide health benefits to all students.