Three-day and Five-day Lunch Options in Effect January 2006
WILSONVILLE, Ore., January 10, 2006 – Pacific Northwest Academy (PNA), a private, independent K-8 school dedicated to academic excellence, announces a new organic lunch program available to students to promote healthier lifestyle and eating choices, environmental awareness, and to help combat growing numbers of diet-related illnesses because of children’s exposure to toxins in their diet and environment. The successful new lunch program, launched as a one day per week “pilot program” in October 2005, has been expanded to include three-day and five-day options effective today.
Zen Kitchen (www.zencatering.com), which specializes in organic catering and meal preparation, plans, prepares and delivers PNA’s organic lunches, and hopes other Portland metro-area schools will consider adopting such healthier food options. Several recent studies have found that children eating a largely organic diet have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies and that proper nutrition affects physical and mental development. With today’s obesity epidemic, rising rates of diabetes and other potentially diet related illnesses, educating children about healthy eating habits is of critical importance.
Compared to public school meals, the organic, whole food lunches offered at PNA are free from added synthetic preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and hydrogenated oils, white, refined sugars and flours. To the greatest extent possible, all ingredients are organic, meaning they are free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genetically modified organisms. Instead, PNA’s lunches provide complete nutrition, comprised of complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, fruit and vegetables) and healthy proteins from beans, lentils, poultry and fish. The cost of this program averages around $5.00 per meal and the benefits are worth the cost in terms of promoting the student’s health, educating the students on proper nutrition, making healthier food choices, supporting local, sustainable agriculture, while providing new dining experiences.
According to Jim White, PNA head-of-school, “Serving such organic foods complements the educational goals of PNA by teaching our students about the food they eat, how to make healthy choices for themselves, their local community and the environment. Students have the opportunity to learn about where the food comes from, how agriculture affects the environment, and about local economies.”
PNA’s lunch coordinator and parent of a PNA student, Aysia Wright, recommended the organic lunch program and Zen Kitchen to White and the school board, and the response from families has been overwhelming. “Starting in January 2006, students will be introduced to a variety of new organic foods, with a weekly ethnic cuisine choice to help the children learn through experience about what people around the world eat,” stated Wright. “PNA has turned eating lunch into a healthy and educational experience in its own right.” PNA believes this approach to a healthier lunch program will not only result in students and parents having greater awareness of how organic foods help sustain local farmers and protect the environment, but also help influence the students to adopt healthier food choices to last their lifetime. PNA also hopes the students will be able to share this awareness with their families and friends.
For Additional Information on Organic Food Resources:
About Pacific Northwest Academy
Founded in 1998, Pacific Northwest Academy is a center of excellence where students, educators and parents actively participate in a shared visionary model of education. Located in Wilsonville, Oregon, PNA is an independent private school for K-8th grade. Students develop the academic, physical, moral, social and emotional skills to realize their unique potential. PNA’s culture fosters respect for spirituality, family and community while preparing students to be contributing world citizens. Every student, parent and teacher brings their own uniqueness to a place that instills a love of learning, a passion for helping others and a focus on the way school was meant to be. For more information, visit: www.pacificnorthwestacademy.org
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