The transformation at Montrose School District is nothing less than incredible, especially given the fact that its leader was a self-described skeptic when it came to school food reform. Prior to participating in culinary trainings, Nutrition Service Director Kathy DelTonto and her staff served up to 95 percent processed food. After all, remembers DelTonto, the food met federal guidelines and the kids were satisfied. “I was defending what we were doing, not realizing that we could do better,” she states. Now the menus feature just under 95 percent scratch-cooked food. Homemade lasagna replaced canned ravioli. Shredded pork sandwiches are served instead of a pre-formed pork patty. Scratch-cooked meat loaf replaced a processed, packaged product. With insights from the School Meal Assessment process, DelTonto immediately eliminated the top five highly processed items on her menus, as well as flavored-milk.

Read more of this month’s “Healthy Hero” feature about Nutrition Services Director Kathy DelTonto.