Serving up healthy habits

With 205 Sacred Heart Greenwich Upper School students eating from the lunch plan, Flik Dining Services focuses its attention on offering healthier lunch options for the school year. 

A popular hot lunch at Sacred Heart is pasta and meatballs with broccoli. Jackie Shannon '18
A popular hot lunch at Sacred Heart is pasta and meatballs with broccoli.
Jackie Shannon ’18

“The entire Flik dining program is designed following strict dietary guidelines. It is more detailed than most would imagine, and the amount of food we make from scratch by far exceeds the norm,” Director of Dining Services Ms. Victoria Raia said.
The kitchen staff’s top priority is to create healthy and high-quality lunches for students. They make all of the salad dressing from scratch and roast the turkey at the deli station daily. In addition, the hot lunch always includes one lean protein or vegetarian option, one starch, and one vegetable. They also do not cook any foods containing trans fat.

Ms. Raia is new to Sacred Heart this year, but she has already made changes to improve the nutrition of the lunches in Hayes Hall.  The first adjustment Ms. Raia made was limiting the amount of milk and butter used in the kitchen by substituting them with healthy oil blends

Ms. Raia also decided to remove the salt shakers from the lunch tables.  Upon her first few months at Sacred Heart, Ms. Raia found it shocking how much salt students added to their already-salted meals.  Ms. Raia hopes that by forcing students to leave their table to find a salt shaker, it will deter students from salting their lunches.  

The kitchen staff is also conscientious about portion control and serving balanced meals. Ms. Raia hopes that students will take the time to learn how to build a healthy plate.  Ms. Raia’s goal is to address those students who only eat a bagel with cream cheese and encourage them to add other food groups to their lunch.  

“Expand your horizons.  Eating healthy is not limited to boring foods, the possibilities are endless,” Ms. Raia said.  
Nutritionist and guest speaker during Wellness Week Mrs. Sarah Davis has also served up different ways to creatively make healthy lunches with the options in Hayes Hall.  Whether students bring lunch from home or buy lunch at school, Mrs. Davis advises them to eat lighter lunches and suggests that a healthy plate includes whole grains, muscle-building proteins, and organic vegetables.

For students who bring their lunch from home, Ms. Davis recommends bringing leftovers from dinner.

“Last night’s grilled chicken and vegetables over a salad with sliced avocado is even better the second day,” Mrs. Davis said.
Mrs. Davis encourages students who buy lunch to venture to the sandwich bar to make a hummus and whole wheat pita bread sandwich, paired with carrots, peppers, and sliced fruit.

Ms. Raia wants students to take charge of their health by knowing what is in the food they eat.  She also wants to make sure that every student is satisfied with their lunches.  

“My advice to students in regards to staying healthy is to constantly ask questions,” Ms. Raia said. “Feel free to ask us what ingredients we used in a certain dish.  Don’t be afraid to ask us for something you may not see.”