Most parents know the struggle with teaching children to eat healthy food. Athlos Academy of Utah has found a way to not only encourage children eat healthier, but to look forward to eating school meals.
At Athlos, students prioritize health.
Lori Phillips, the kitchen manager at Athlos Academy of Utah, has had years of experience working at kitchens for private and public schools. Recently, she has learned from food shows, vendors, and what student are served at other schools versus what they eat at Athlos.
“I found that students here eat very differently than at other schools,” Phillips said. “If you were to offer pizza or a waffle stacker at another school, students would take the pizza. At Athlos, students would rather take the waffle stacker.”
Students at Athlos are taught about the Healthy Body component of the Athlos model, which helps students learn the importance of healthy lifestyle habits. To help enforce the Healthy Body pillar, Phillips and her kitchen staff make sure to offer fresh fruit and a salad bar every day.
“We try all different kinds of things on [the salad bar] to get students to try new foods,” Phillips said. “It’s amazing to see how the children have changed, for example, how much broccoli they take now compared the beginning of the school year.”
We serve meals from scratch.
One of the strongest reasons Athlos students (and staff) enjoy school meals can likely be attributed to the fact that most of the meals are made from ingredients found in the school kitchen.
“I have a crew in the kitchen who are always trying to come up with new delicious and healthy options for the students,” Phillips said. “It’s a lot easier to take something from the freezer and throw it on a pan, but we don’t like the taste, it’s just not the same as the food we make from scratch.”
Phillips and the rest of the kitchen staff love getting the children excited about the food by posting photos of the options that they are serving. If the staff is able to make a menu option from scratch, they will.
“I’ve determined that if I’m not going to eat it, then I’m not going to serve it to the children.”
– Lori Phillips
Healthy students are happy students.
In many ways, food is a great way for people to feel more comfortable and at home. For Athlos students, school meals are something they can look forward to every day.
“I was recently shopping at a local store and a former student recognized me, and she told her mother ‘Mom, this is the lunch lady I was telling you about,’” Phillips said about a student whose mother received a job offer that made it difficult for her daughter to attend Athlos anymore. “Her mother then told me about how her daughter misses the school lunch so much and how she wants to go back for the food. Things like that make me feel really good.”
Phillips understands the importance of food in students’ lives and she hopes to continue providing meals that are both healthy and delicious for the school.
Phillips’ favorite school meals are the lasagna, broccoli cheese soup with breadsticks, and the waffle stackers.