AmericanTown's Heroes: School Food Service Coordinator Gets Kids to Eat Veggies

Schools and Libraries

January 13, 2016

Parents (and nutritionists) are hailing the lunch lady who gets kids to eat healthy lunches and snacks at school. Her name is Donna Riviello and she is the Food Service Coordinator for the Clyde-Savannah Central School District in New York.

She credits some of her success with marketing and positioning, but also by making it to fun to eat vegetables with "taste test days" that encourage the kids to try things like kale chips and whipped sweet potatoes mixed with different spices. It can sometimes take weeks of sampling before the dish is adopted, but there is victory in the end!

Another one of her initiatives was to lobby for a grant to provide free breakfast, lunch and a snack to children who need it as well as installing snack machines that dispense healthy alternatives to chips and chocolate bars.

Riviello was named Food Service Director of the Year by the New York School Nutrition Association for her innovative approach to getting kids to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets and for her work to nourish those who need it.

One in five American children entering elementary school is overweight, according to recent studies, so it's important to offer well balanced and nutritious meals in school and at home.

Do you know someone who works to make healthy meals a reality for children in schools? Nominate them for next week's AmericanTown's Heroes.