Parents run school kitchen, prepare healthy meals

Parents run school kitchen, prepare healthy meals »Play Video

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Parents, we know you want to make sure your kids get a healthy lunch. That's why some Beaverton parents took over the kitchen at their kids' school.

The kids at Pilgrim Lutheran say their friends who bring a packed lunch always try to steal from their lunch trays. Moms and dads volunteer their time in the kitchen at the school.

The head chef is Cynthia Dixon, another parent. She took the reigns a few years ago from a dad who started the homemade lunch program and was a professional chef.

The school says more than half the students order Cynthia's lunch on a daily basis. The recipes focus on protein and good carbohydrates.

Cynthia says the kids are adventurous and will try anything, but sometimes she just sneaks it in.

"There are a little slight of hand secrets we do use whole wheat pasta mixed with white pasta. now the kids will know! When we make macaroni and cheese I start with a butternut squash puree, so they're getting vegetables that they don't even know they're getting," she said.

Seventh grader Andrew Reid says the wholesome lunch carries him through the day without crashing.

"I have no time to eat before practice or anything, so this meal right here actually is carrying on to my practice, giving me the energy to play basketball and run around," he said.

Principal Chris Herold said he's noticed a change in the kids since the program's been in place. They seem more energetic on the playground and more alert in class in the afternoons, he said.

We found most of our Portland metro area schools, private and public, offer some kind of fresh, made-from-scratch food program.

Pilgrim Lutheran may be unique though in having parents run the show. Herold said a kitchen full of happy moms and dads working together makes him think "if Jesus had a lunch room, this would be it."