School food manager encourages healthy eating
April 4, 2013 11:42AM
Updated: May 8, 2013 6:05AM
Bernice Rolniak knows a thing or two about nutrition.
She’s not only the food service manager with Arbor Management Inc., which prepares and serves more than 1,300 hot lunches each day to students at all five of the schools in North Palos District 117, she’s transformed her own life by eating healthier.
Rolniak lost 60 pounds two years ago and kept the weight off.
“I feel great,” she said.
Now she and her staff are committed to getting students at Conrady Junior High School and the district’s other four schools — Sorrick, Dorn, Oak Ridge and Glen Oaks — to do the same.
Rolniak used March, National Nutrition Month, to teach students about the merits of portion control, healthy eating and exercise.
Students were given menu choices featuring more fruits and vegetables with the hope that healthier eating at school will lead to healthier eating at home.
She said students have shown modest interest in cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and even broccoli.
“And they do enjoy the salads,” Rolniak said.
Cauliflower, however, has been a whole different story.
Posters adorn the south wall of Conrady’s cafeteria, pointing out healthy snack choices, calculating portion sizes and the importance of exercise in a healthy lifestyle.
National Bean Month in April will feature a menu including garbanzo and other beans as part of the main dish. Students will be offered hummus made from ground garbanzo beans.
“We’re trying to get them to eat healthier,” she said. “It’s going to take time.”