Learning About Nutrition in School Cafeterias

My son Oliver started grade 7 at Birchwood Intermediate School this fall and he decided that he wanted to buy his lunches in the school cafeteria. There's a daily special offered by the cafeteria each day, and the school helpfully publishes this on the school website so it's been easy for us to keep track of what he's having for lunch every day. But we didn't really know anything about the nutrition of the daily specials, and I didn't really know where to find this out.

Fortunately, the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance was able to help me: I gave them a list of the daily specials on the Birchwood menu and they forwarded this to Chartwells, the contractor that operates the Birchwood cafeteria, and Chartwells returned the nutritional breakdown for each one:

Chartwells Nutrition Information for Birchwood Intermediate School, November 2013

That chart doesn't tell us everything we want to know – like where the food comes from, how it's prepared, and what the individual ingredients are – but it's a starting point.

If you're a parent who wants to know more about your child's cafeteria food, the Healthy Eating Alliance can help get you the same information for your school: just contact Ellen Panting, Healthy Eating Coordinator. You might also consider bringing this forward as a local home and school project, or suggesting to your school that they post the information on the school website.