Healthy Flavors,
Healthy Kids

2012 Leadership Summit

Chefs Scott Samuel and Lars Kronmark

The 2nd Annual Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit

The 2012 Summit gathered over 200 professionals with the goal of improving nutrition and flavor in food for children across different settings. Explore the summit schedule and recipes in the PDF resources below.

Professional Courage

May 15, 2012

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RD
Director of Programs and Culinary Nutrition
The Culinary Institute of America

We hosted our second annual Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Leadership Summit at The Culinary Institute of America's San Antonio campus May 9–11, 2012. The event brought together a group of 200 leaders to discuss and debate ways to improve the flavor and quality of foods and beverages made available to children in a variety of settings.

The audience included leaders from school foodservice, campus dining, chain restaurants, food manufacturers, commodity boards, public health, medicine, and the media. The school foodservice operators who attended Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids this year serve more than 6.5 million meals to children in the U.S. every day. That's one-fifth of all meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program.

What does it take to serve that many meals? If those meals are going to be healthful and flavorful, it takes professional courage.

It takes professional courage to develop menus that not only meet the new Child Nutrition standards but also help educate students about food. Counting tomato sauce on pizza as a vegetable may be allowable under the new regulations, but it does nothing to educate children about building healthful, balanced meals composed of foods from multiple food groups.

It takes professional courage to tell school administrators that only allowing 12–15 minutes for a student to select and consume school lunch is not adequate. Developing healthful eating habits takes more than putting healthful, flavorful foods on the menu. Students need time to savor and appreciate the foods in front of them while enjoying the company of classmates and friends.

It takes professional courage to tell food manufacturers that a product made with 51% whole grain may count as a whole grain serving, but for the health of our children, we need products with less refined grain and more whole grains.

It takes professional courage to tell food marketers that marketing high calorie, low nutrient foods and beverages to children is not acceptable, especially in our nation's schools. No matter how much money is offered to a school, promoting consumption of high calorie, low nutrient foods and beverages       is not worth the cost it will have on children's health and well-being in the future.

And it takes professional courage to ignore the people who say, "It can't be done. It's too much work. It'll never work," and instead listen to your inner voice that says, "It must be done. It's work worth doing. We will succeed."

Each of us has not only a role but also a responsibility to improve the flavor and quality of foods and beverages made available to children in a variety of settings. By working together, we will slowly make       changes that will ultimately impact children's health.