CUSD Nutrition Wants YOU To Join Our Team!

Our Philosophy

CUSD Nutrition is dedicated to serving children of all ages, healthy and safe meals. Providing superior customer experiences while building strong relationships is something our department values greatly. Our diverse and committed staff is constantly working to serve nutritious and quality food. In turn, we are able to promote academic excellence to the students in the Chandler Unified School District.

Make a Difference in a Child’s Life

Every employee at CUSD is a small part of a larger picture. No matter how small the task, it all adds up to a bigger purpose- serving our children. Each employee’s individual contribution to our nutrition department allows us to serve thousands of meals to hungry children every day. By being a part our team you are directly impacting a child’s life for the better.

Be a Part of a Team

Feel comforted knowing someone always has your back. It takes a lot of input and unique personalities to build our brilliant team. We trust that all of our employees support and motivate each other. Together, we can strive for excellence.

Enjoy Your Benefits

CUSD Nutrition believes every employee is valuable. We allow our employees to have creative freedom to express their ideas and inspire others. With determination, there is always room for growth. We recognize each individual’s hard work and efforts and appreciate that commitment.

  • Flexible Schedule/Hours
  • Benefits
  • Holidays Off
  • State Retirement (dependent upon hours/week)

Visit our Website for more info!

Clean Snacking

Our new clean label initiate has inspired us to share some healthy, mouthwatering, effortless snacks with you. Use whole, fresh foods to create delicious snacks and leave the additives behind!

Quick Kabobs

blog post_clean snacks_kabobs

Kabobs are a quick and playful way to eat a snack, instead of eating fruit out of a bowl or off of a plate. With one of our recipes, we suggested a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick for a creative way to have a meat and cheese snack. It also helps with portion control, when eating small skewers one at a time; you avoid the opportunity of over serving yourself or your children.

 

Meat & Cheese Kabob

  • 12 servings of small skewers (toothpick size)
  • 1 ½ cup Cubed or Sliced Cheese (Cheddar, Colby jack or Swiss)
  • 1 ½ cup Cubed Meat (turkey or ham)
  • 1 ½ cup Olives (Black)

Layer cheese, meat and olive one at a time on each skewer. Serve on an open plate or platter.

*Tip: Skewer the contents on a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick for easy consumption and extra taste.

Veggie Kabob

  • 12 servings of small skewers (toothpick size)
  • 1 ½ cup Sliced Cucumber Sliced
  • 1 ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cup Chopped Bell Pepper (Green, Orange, Yellow)

Layer vegetables onto skewer, alternating between each one. Serve on an open plate or platter.

*Tip: Serve with a Low Fat dressing or dip, such as ranch or Italian dressing, enhancing the flavors of the veggies.

Fruit Kabob

  • 12 servings of small skewers (toothpick size)
  • 1 ½ cup Strawberries Chopped
  • 1 ½ cup Pineapple Sliced and Chopped
  • 1 ½ cup Banana Sliced
  • 1 ½ cup Grapes

Layer fruit assortment one by one onto skewer, alternating each one. Serve on an open plate or platter.

*Tip: Use unique fruits, like mango, kiwi or watermelon.

Chip Alternatives

blog post_clean snacking_chips

Store bought potato chips are often very high in fat, salt and calories due to the methods of preparation like fried or kettle cooked chips. They lack nutrients or health benefits compared to homemade vegetable chips, which do contain vitamins and nutrients. Homemade vegetable chips, even homemade potato (or sweet potato) chips, are healthier for you because you have the ability to limit the amounts of fat and salt that go into your chip. When making homemade chips, you also eliminate the unnatural preservatives and chemicals are used during processing and making store bought chips.

 

Zucchini Oven Baked Chips

  • 2 Servings
  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Slice zucchini with a mandolin or slice thinly with a knife. Add Olive Oil and salt; mix them around so they are coated evenly. Place on baking sheet with no over lap, and bake low and slow for 2+ hours until they are crisp like chips.

Let cool, remove from baking sheet, store or serve.

*Tip: Add a flavor or unique spice to make your chips a little more flavorful.

Brussels Sprout, Spinach or Kale Chips

  • 4 cups Kale, Spinach or Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt (Course sea salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degree F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cover baking sheet with leaves; brush olive oil onto vegetable leaves, and sprinkle salt over the top. Then bake for 10 minutes, or until the leaf is no longer soft and has a crunchy crisp texture.

Guilt Free Desert

blog post_clean snacks_dessert

Ice cream, especially store bought, is usually high in both fat and sugar. Fat and sugar put you at greater risk for weight gain, chronic diseases and overall poor health. Yogurt is a more beneficial choice in regards to nutrition because you can buy it low fat, they are lower in sugar content and sometimes have natural probiotics that promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Freezing your favorite yogurt, instead of buying a frozen yogurt form the ice cream aisle would be more beneficial, as the store bought frozen yogurts are processed and intended to taste sweet like ice cream. Freezing your own fruit and making your own fruit syrup is healthier for a banana split because there isn’t the added sugars and preservatives that go into store bought fruit syrup toppings.

Healthy Banana Split

Frozen Yogurt Banana Split

  • 1 serving
  • 1 Whole Banana
  • 1 cup Vanilla Greek/Low Fat yogurt (Frozen)
  • ¼ cup Strawberries Sliced
  •  ¼ cup Blueberries
  • 1/3 cup Granola
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • ¼ teaspoon Coco Powder

Split banana in half vertically, and scoop yogurt, placing between banana pieces. Top yogurt with strawberries, blueberries and granola; then finish by drizzling honey and sprinkling coco powder over the fruit topping. Serve.

*Tip: Use fruit syrup or jelly from your local grocery store instead of honey for extra fruit flavor. Also, for a dairy free banana split, use frozen bananas as a base for ice cream, and add vanilla or peanut butter for flavor.

Where Does My Food Go?

DIGESTION EDUCATION

We often hear the importance of choosing nutritious foods so we can receive all our essential vitamins and minerals. Yet, how do we utilize these nutrients and where do they go? The digestive tract is the body’s way of breaking down food, absorbing nutrients and eliminating unwanted waste.

The digestion process begins as soon as we walk into the lunchroom and breath in the tasty aroma of our meal. The smell tells our body to begin producing saliva before we even eat! Once we take the first delicious bite, the enzymes in our saliva being working together with our strong teeth and tongue, making the food easier to swallow.

june blog_fun fact 2Our salivary glands produce around 1.5 liters of saliva each day!

The food then enters the esophagus, a long, muscular tube that extends from the back of the mouth to the stomach. The epiglottis is an important flap that covers our windpipe, preventing food from entering.

june blog_fun fact 1It takes about 7 seconds for the food to get from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus.

Once the food travels down the esophagus it is emptied into the stomach. The acid produced by the stomach walls combined with the churning continues to break down the food into smaller and smaller pieces.

june blog_fun fact 23The inner wall of the stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to help kill bacteria and aid in digestion. To protect itself from the harsh acid, the stomach lining must create a thick coating of mucus.

The food then arrives at a 22-foot long tube called the small intestine. The only thing small about the small intestine is its 2inch diameter. When stretched out it can cover a tennis court! As the food travels through the small intestine all the nutrients found in the food are absorbed. However, It does not work alone! It uses the help from other organs including, the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. These organs release enzymes that help in the breakdown process, allowing absorption to occur. This means all the nutrients that filled our food are extracted and absorbed so they can be used by our body.

INTERESTING FACT: The small intestine is composed of a duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.

After the long journey through the small intestine, the nutrients leave the intestine and enter the blood. Once in the blood they head straight for the liver. The liver is where all the decisions are made. It determines what will be stored, what will be used for energy and what nutrients to send out to other parts of the body.

The calcium in the milk we drink will be used to build strong bones, the vitamin C in our fruit will be used to fight off illness, the carbs in our wheat bread will be used for energy and the protein in our grilled chicken will be used to build strong muscles.

INTERESTING FACT: In your lifetime, the digestive system will handle over 50 tons of food and liquid!

Anything that was not absorbed in the small intestine will be excreted through the large intestine. Much shorter in size, the large intestine is 5 feet long with a large diameter of 4 inches wide. It is here that the body has one last chance to absorb any water or minerals it needs before being excreted.

june blog_fun fact 2Food can last in the large intestine from 18 hours to 2 days!

For additional resources and interactive movies and games on the digestive tract visit-

http://www.livescience.com/22367-digestive-system.html

http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/digestive_system.html

http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/DSmovie.html

Decoding Common Food Additives

The Ingredients You Won’t Find on CUSD’s Menu

It’s hard enough to pronounce the names of common additives, let alone know what they do! To make it simpler, we are looking into the research and history of 30 common additives that didn’t make the cut onto our menus.

CUSD Nutrition believes in providing nutritious and wholesome meals to our students. If there is any question about an additives safety, we don’t feel its necessary to serve it to our students.

ASPARTAME

Aspartame was created in 1965 and can now be found in over 6,000 products. It is an artificially made and added to food, gum and medication to add sweetness. Since aspartame is synthetically made, it is not listed under “Sugars” on a food label. It is often found in products advertised as “Sugar Free” or “Diet”

OTHER NAMES: Equal, NutraSweet, or AminoSweet

WHERE IT’S FOUND: Soft Drinks, Chewing Gum, Dessert Mixes, Gelatin Deserts, Candy, Condiments, Puddings, Yogurt, Table Sweeteners, Sugar-Free Cough Drops and Medications

THE RESEARCH: Studies have been conducted on both rats and humans. Conflicting results about whether or not aspartame poses a serious health risk have been found. Research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, as well as multiple studies conducted on rats found that long-term, continued use of aspartame does pose a healthy risk related to cancer and tumor growth. Although, the FDA believes the research regarding aspartame is flawed and needs to be reevaluated.

Overall, they report that aspartame when limited to small amounts does not pose a risk to human health.

ALTERNATIVES: Since the research related to aspartame is inconclusive and people are recommended to only consume small amounts over time, CUSD Nutrition feels there are better ways to sweeten your foods! Natural sweeteners including- agave, date sugar, honey, maple sugar, molasses, or coconut sugar

BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE

BHA is an antioxidant that is used in a variety of foods. It is added in order to preserve the food and increase its shelf life. Since 1947, It has been added to fat and fat-containing foods.

 

OTHER NAMES: BHA

WHERE IT’S FOUND: Cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, vegetable oil.

THE RESEARCH: There are conflicting results between studies conducted on BHA. Some studies have found it to cause harm to animal organs that do not exist in humans, while others have found it to have no effect. Even with controversial research, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  “reasonably considers” BHA to be a carcinogen and advised its use be limited.

ALTERNATIVES: BHA works as an antioxidant to preserve fat-containing foods. A natural alternative is Vitamin E, an antioxidant that can preserve food and add nutritional value. Another alternative includes leaving BHA and any other preservative out of the food- since they are not required to produce a quality product.

MONOSODIIUM GLUTAMATE

MSG is added to foods to enhance their flavor. It is substituted in recipes in replacement of real food ingredients. Even though MSG is naturally occurring, it artificially gives foods a savory and meat like taste.

 

OTHER NAMES: MSG

WHERE IT’S FOUND: Soup, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, restaurant foods

THE RESEARCH: A 1960’s study was conducted that found large amounts of MSG caused considerable harm to rats. After it was made public, all MSG was removed from baby food. Continued research has reported that some people are more sensitive than others to MSG’s effects. Many people have reported headaches, nausea, and weakness after consuming foods containing MSG. More research is needed to determine if MSG is truly harmful in varying amounts.

ALTERNATIVES: Instead of artificially adding flavor, more of the desired ingredients can be added. CUSD Nutrition plans to make numerous items from starch, eliminating many flavor-enhancing additives. Whole-food recipes are exceptionally tasty, containing fresh herbs and spices.

Visit the blog weekly to find more research, information and alternatives to common food additives!