A project to improve the students‘ nutrition has been undertaken by the Lycée Français de Vienne. The dining hall of the school serves more than 1,800 lunches to its pupils each day. The head cook, Jean-Luc Bourdin, and his team, along with the support of the school leadership have made significant changes to the meal planning:
- Reduction in refined carbohydrates
- Reduction in the amount of salt in meals
- Reduction in the amount of trans fats in meals
- Increase in the amount of fruit, vegetables and salad
- Increase in food with a high amount of omega 3-fatty acids such as fresh linseed oil
The head cook, Jean-Luc Bourdin, reported the following changes:
In the last months we made great efforts to improve the pupils‘ nutrition at the Lycée Français de Vienne. Our aim is not only to fill the students‘ stomachs; rather, we want our cuisine to contribute significantly to their health and academic performance.
Substantial changes are as follows:
- Reduction of polished rice, products made from refined grains or French fries
- Increased use of products made from whole grains as well as more availability of vegetables and fruits
- Fresh preparation of vegetable soups, chicken or beef broth
- Omega 3-fatty acid levels to be improved with the use of fresh linseed oil
- Reduction of refined sugar in yoghurt, pudding and cakes
- Fresh fruits as desserts to be offered more often
- Sugar-containing drinks like cacao and soft drinks have been replaced by milk and water
We observed that pupils definitely help themselves to fruits, vegetables and salad. Even though the pupils have been somehow irritated that French fries are not served as often as before, after a short period of transition, they are eating the considerably healthier meals with delight.
The teachers have made a fundamental contribution to the adoption of the new menu with explanations about healthy eating styles. The menu is posted at the information board at the entrance of the school, allowing the parents of the younger pupils to talk about the food and to whet their appetite.
We ensure that every pupil is served with every type of food at the buffet. In addition, we mark the healthiest food with Zabi to make it appealing to the pupils.
With the desserts, we have discovered that we can’t get by without using a sweetener. For example, plain yoghurt prepared only with fruit is not well accepted by the pupils. This is why we have decided to begin to use Xylitol as a sweetener and to increasingly sweeten desserts like yoghurt, pudding and cakes with it to reduce the amount of refined sugar that the students consume. In addition, we plan to lower the amount of desserts made from refined grains and instead use more fresh fruit.
In the future we will mark particularly healthy food like fruits and vegetables with Zabi to encourage the pupils to eat it.
We will follow up with a report about the pupils‘ acceptance of the new food offering.
The head cook and his team