DMPS Food & Nutrition Opens Kitchens to the Public

Come and see where more than 20,000 meals a day are produced when our Central Nutrition Center hosts its first-ever open house on Thursday, October 9.

Come and see where more than 20,000 meals a day are produced when our Central Nutrition Center hosts its first-ever open house on Thursday, October 9.

Des Moines Public Schools serves breakfast and lunch to nearly 20,000 students every day.  The district is excited to announce the celebration of this year’s National School Lunch Week with a special opportunity for the community.

Executive Chef Chad Taylor and his staff will open the Central Nutrition Center kitchens to the public for the first time ever on Thursday, Oct. 9 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.  The Central Nutrition Center is located at 1225 2nd Avenue in Des Moines, under the historic Colonial Bread sign.

Come and see where 7,200 gallons of mac and cheese, 40,000 pounds of taco meat and 111,000 chicken nuggets are made each year!  Put on a hair net and get the full tour.  See how hundreds of employees juggle more than 200,000 pounds of bananas and 600,000 apples, not to mention 8,750 pounds of flour and 20,000 muffins each month!  Yes, there will be samples.

It’s a chance for students, families and the community to see where all of our nutritious lunches originate and talk to the staff who bring the recipes together.

The event is part of a countrywide recognition of the National School Lunch Program and the 30 million children it serves every day. “Get in the Game with School Lunch” is the theme and the program will feature events and activities that promote the importance of balancing healthy eating with physical activity and exercise.

National School Lunch Week will emphasize the healthy foods that are offered daily at Des Moines Public Schools.

“School lunches are healthier than ever, with more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and less fat and sodium” said Sandy Huisman, Director of Food and Nutrition. “National School Lunch Week is the perfect time to celebrate all of the healthy options we’re serving every day in Des Moines Public Schools”.

The Food and Nutrition Department is constantly evaluating feedback and improving their product.  Just recently, staff began serving a new bean and cheese burrito that has a cleaner label. The “cleaner label” accommodates special and vegan diets.  A new grilled chicken patty is made from whole muscle breast meat instead of chopped and formed pieces. Also, this year Greek yogurt was added as a lunch choice. And the department has received positive feeback follwing the introduction of new Asian dishes last year.

“We are seeing more products that both students and parents like coming to the market place,” Chef Taylor said.  “Students like the variety and parents like that the choices are healthy.”

The federally-funded National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals to students everyday.  The program, which has been serving the nation’s children for over 60 years, requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards like offering fruits and vegetables every day, serving whole-grain rich foods, and limiting fat, calories, and sodium.

The national “Get in the Game with School Lunch” campaign is sponsored by the non-profit School Nutrition Association and Chobani Greek Yogurt.

For 24/7 access to DMPS school menus, including a nutrition breakdown of menu items, download our Des Moines Public Schools app in the Apple App Store or Google Play.