A unique partnership has been forged between Healthy Chelsea, Chelsea School Food Services, Chelsea Public Schools and Northbound Ventures to continuously improve school meals in the district.
Major projects include:
- Monthly meetings with this group to analyze participation and nutrition data and check in on ongoing goals.
- The Youth Food Movement (YFM) internship program, which allows high school and middle school students to advocate for higher quality food in their school.
- An annual school food satisfaction survey at Chelsea High School organized by YFM.
- Regular cafeteria taste tests in all Chelsea public school cafeterias to try Harvest of the Month recipes and other new items.
Results to date have been striking. Lunch participation at CHS has increased to more than 75 percent, far exceeding our original goal set in 2013 to increase participation from 39 to 45 percent. This increased participation has been accompanied by improvement in nutritional content. During the 2015-2016 school year (our “intervention year” at CHS), we saw a marked increase in the percentage of low-sodium, low-saturated fat meals chosen by students (green) as well as a significant decrease in the less healthy options chosen (red).
1) Identifying and removing high sodium/sat fat items like cheeseburgers and hot dogs (red zone)
2) Identifying ingredient substitutions for menu items that could be improved (yellow zone)
3) Increasing production (and, thus, selection) of healthier, student tested items like the BBQ chicken (green zone)
Healthy Chelsea and our coalition partners, The Neighborhood Developers and Social Capital Inc., have combined forces to form #WalkWednesday, a year-round walking group, to promote exercise, introduce parks and other areas of the city and create social capital. Every Wednesday morning a Community Health Leader guides up to 20 walkers on a different route. When not under pandemic restrictions the walk ends with coffee and conversation at a local coffee shop.