Promoting Healthy School Lunches
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell joined two Seattle award-winning chefs and the Seattle Public Schools Nutrition Director Wednesday to demonstrate new pea-and-lentil recipes that could be on more Washington state school menus, thanks to the Cantwell-authored Pulse School Pilot Program, which was included in the recently passed Farm Bill. The $10 million pilot program was modeled after the Whole Grains program, and will enable schools across the country to purchase and utilize more Washington-grown peas, lentils and chickpeas for school menus.
CANTWELL: Pulse crops have a huge impact on fiber and getting fiber in diet, and they’re a high protein, and they’re also cheap so when you’re the school nutritionist and you’re trying to make things work nutritionists will tell you having the lentils and chickpeas and things like that into the school lunch program is going to be very very beneficial. We’ve gone from growing very little chickpeas to now being the number one producer for chickpeas.
Chefs at the event were Maria Hines, winner of the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, and eleven year old Amber Kelley, winner of the Michelle Obama’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” for Washington state last year, and host of the on-line show “Cook with Amber” that focuses on healthy meals. The two chefs cooked new kid-friendly recipes using peas and lentils for a group of 25 children at the Wallingford Boys and Girls Club in Seattle. Tim McGreevy, CEO of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, was also on hand to discuss how the growing popularity of pulse crops helps to create thousands of jobs across Washington state, including at 22 processors in Eastern Washington.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.