October 12, 2010

Doctors Give Golden Carrot to DC Public Schools for Serving Healthy Lunches  

National Award Celebrates District’s Food Service Director and Innovative Lunch Program

Contact: Katie Test | (202) 724-4825 | Contact Email

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Jeff MillsWASHINGTON D.C.—District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Food Services Director Jeffrey Mills has won a national award for his innovative approach to serving healthy, vegetarian lunch options in more than 120 schools in the nation’s capital.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a national nonprofit organization that promotes healthy diets, has named Mills a winner in the 2010 Golden Carrot Awards. The award will be presented during this year’s National School Lunch Week, which runs from Oct. 11-15. A cash prize accompanies the award: PCRM will give $1,000 to benefit the schools’ innovative food service program.

DCPS offers a wide variety of nutritious, vegetarian meal options—including curried local fall vegetables with steamed brown rice, Moroccan bean and vegetable stew, and black bean burger on a whole wheat roll—with fresh salads offered daily. Mills has introduced students to a variety of new fruits and vegetables this year through afterschool programs and a “Strawberries and Salad Greens Day” to kick off a celebration of fresh, high-quality, local food in school cafeterias.

"By offering plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat vegetarian meals, the district is helping students understand the link between what they eat and their health," says PCRM nutritionist Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D." Young people who develop good eating habits are more likely to choose carrot sticks and veggie burgers over chicken wings throughout life. Healthier choices can dramatically reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease."

PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM looks for programs that encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and that offer plenty of vegetarian, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options.

"I feel honored that the team’s hard work has been recognized,” said Jeff Mills. “We know that children who eat nutritious meals are not only healthier, they are also better learners. Our goal is to continue pushing for sustainable cost-conscious improvements that will enable us to serve healthy meals with quality ingredients and taste to match."

For an interview with PCRM dietitian, please contact Jessica Frost at 202-527-7342. For an interview with Jeff Mills, please contact Katie Test at 202-724-4825.

About Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

About the District of Columbia Public Schools
The shared goal of every DCPS principal, teacher and staff member is to make DCPS the highest performing urban school district in the nation, and to once and for all close the achievement gap that separates low-income students and students of color from their higher-income and white peers.

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