Douglas County Schools Nutrition Workers Attend Culinary Institute

Sheila GarmonMary HollisPHOTO: Sheila Garmon (Left), Mary Hollis (Right)

STATESBORO, Ga. – June 26, 2013 – Georgia Southern University professors and chefs helped school nutrition workers discover new recipes to give students healthier and tastier options for  breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program Culinary Institute II.

Mary Hollis and Sheila Garmon from the Douglas County School System were busy in the classroom and kitchen learning to add more flavor to their nutrition programs and develop a better understanding of menu planning, ingredient quality, production, garnishing and service.

“School lunch doesn’t have to be unappetizing,” said Becky Larson, registered dietitian in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Program. “Our goal is to show those that are planning and producing school meals that there are healthy and tasty options for their school cafeterias.”

The school nutrition program managers learned about using and modifying standardized recipes, creating a learning laboratory in the cafeteria, incorporating nutrition education and farm to school programs in the school environment, marketing new menu items and programs, resolving human resource issues and accommodating children with special  needs.

“A feature that makes Georgia Southern’s Culinary Institute II so popular is that attendees have the opportunity to take what they have learned and then participate in a ‘taking it home’ activity,” explained Larry Stalcup, Ph.D., professor of hotel and restaurant management. “This gives them the opportunity to not only learn a lot at the Institute, but then take it back to their school district and implement it.”

The school nutrition workers learn about using herbs and spices, local and seasonal foods and vegetarian ingredients. “A key to improving school meals is to learn how to make things taste better,” said Larson. “One of the main things that we teach is to pay special attention to the ingredients during preparation. By using herbs, spices, citrus, seasonal produce and cooking methods, we can lower saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.”

The Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program, in cooperation with the College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Business Administration and the Continuing Education Center hosted the 36 hour workshop that is designed to develop management skills as part of the federal National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit:


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