Keeping Kids Healthy

The word is out: Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) Nutrition has embarked on a Clean Label Initiative. Your first question may be, “What is a clean label?” Since there are no official guidelines defining the term, every individual and organization is open to its own interpretation.

At CUSD Nutrition, we see a clean label as one free of unnecessary additives. For the first phase of our initiative, this will include eliminating 30 common artificial colors and flavors, hydrogenated fats, MSG and artificial sweeteners, just to name a few. Over time, our definition will evolve as research and the food industry continue to progress. We have three registered dietitians on staff to help improve the nutrition of our menus and work with students and parents who have special dietary needs.

Through the addition of simple, wholesome ingredients and the elimination of avoidable additives, CUSD Nutrition wants to bring simplicity to food labels. We believe artificial, highly processed additives have no nutritional value to your child’s diet. That is why we will be utilizing our 25,000 square-foot, fully equipped central kitchen to create numerous items from scratch. Ground white meat turkey for taco meat, whole grains for all bakery items, homemade hummus and high fiber, and Vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes will be used as a base for many of our recipes. We will continue to evolve, and by 2020 our goal is to eliminate more than 70 total additives from the food we serve.

We feel a strong sense of responsibility to equip your students with the best possible health for future success and we believe these additives provide no nutritional benefit or advantage.

With advancing research and technology, we are becoming aware of some of the potential risks associated with common additives. Evidence-based research from Whole Foods Market and the shared concern from numerous parents, have inspired our transition. We are transitioning to food in its purest form so that our students can experience locally grown food that is made fresh daily. You can trust that CUSD Nutrition is providing healthy, safe, nutritious food each day, all at a very low cost.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily tips and information to help you at home and see the way we are revolutionizing school nutrition at CUSD. Our free app gives parents real time nutritional information and is available for download at the iTunes App Store.

Learn more about CUSD Nutrition and the Clean Label Initiative, access school breakfast and lunch menus, find nutritional resources and submit suggestions at ww2.Chandler.K12.Az.Us/CusdNutrition.