Search LiveWell Colorado

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative

School Food Matters

About the School Food Initiative

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative partners with food service directors and their staff to serve up freshly prepared meals that taste good and are good for students too. We do this by providing workshops and training, on-site chef support, strategic and culinary action planning, and operations and marketing technical assistance. It’s our mission to make sure every child in Colorado eats well, lives well, and stays well. We invite you to join the movement to put fresh ingredients and fun cooking back on the line!

Help provide healthy school meals to Colorado kids

Nearly 1 in 5 Colorado kids (19%) don’t always know how or when they will get their next meal. Children spend half their waking hours and consume up to 50 percent of their calories at school. For low-income students, the percentage is even higher. That’s why LiveWell’s School Food Initiative helps ensure all Colorado kids get great-tasting, nutritious meals in school. Since 2010, the program has provided nearly 600,000 Colorado students in nearly 100 districts with healthier school meals—but we can’t do it alone. Your support is needed to help Colorado kids grow up healthy and strong. 

LEARN MORE & CONTRIBUTE

Join Us!

To learn more about how the initiative works, to become a partner, or to participate in our next program cohort, please fill out this form or email us at contact@livewellcolorado.org.

Contact Us

Content related to School Food:

Give to the School Food Initiative

School Food Initiative Spotlight | Chef Jessica Wright Shares Highlights from Idalia & Centennial

Two Tiny Districts Handle Big Changes While Honing Leadership Skills By Chef Jessica Wright, LiveWell Colorado School Food Initiative As a LiveWell School Food Initiative Chef, my work is mainly focused in two school districts,…

School Food Initiative Webinar #3: Plan Your Campaign!

Click here to watch the webinar on YouTube!

School Food Spotlight | Making School Lunch Healthier for Our Bodies, Environment, & Budgets

How switching from canned to dried beans is improving school food in Fort Morgan By Chef Rob Mattoch, LiveWell School Food Initiative Editor's note: Read more about our School Food Initiative team's work in Fort Morgan…

School Food Spotlight | Healthy Food Takes a Front Row Seat in Morgan County Schools

Times Are Changing and So Is School Food in Fort Morgan By Chef Sarah Kvichak, LiveWell School Food Initiative  "Offering scratch lunch is not only socially responsible, but enjoyable!" Current school meal preparation often looks…

School Food Spotlight: Chef Fernando Shares Highlights from the Field

School Food Initiative Chef Highlights Thompson & Salida Schools, Early Childcare Centers By Chef Fernando Cardona, LiveWell School Food Initiative "For us chefs who love to cook, we don’t just feed people; we like to…

New Infographic Illustrates Impact of School Food Initiative

New Infographic Illustrates Impact of School Food Initiative *See detailed summary explanation of infographic in narrative below. Infographic Summary LiveWell Colorado’s School Food Initiative (SFI) operates in school districts across the state with the goal…

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative: Q & A with Program Director Gabriella Warner

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative (SFI) partners with Food & Nutrition Service Departments to serve up freshly prepared meals to students across the state. The Initiative began in 2010 and has continued to grow and evolve…

School Food Initiative Spotlight: East Grand School District

School Food Initiative Spotlight: East Grand School District By Chef Chris Hazle East Grand School District is up to big things these days. With enrollment numbers rising, so are the demands on the Food & Nutrition…

LiveWell School Food Initiative: Thompson School District Trainings

LiveWell School Food Initiative: Thompson School District Trainings By Janessa Nelsen, Program Coordinator, LiveWell School Food Initiative Thompson School District – the 17th largest district in Colorado with over 16,000 students enrolled – held a…

School Food Initiative | Success Stories: Norwood School District

School Food Initiative | Success Stories: Norwood School District By Jen Dabal, Food Service Manager, Norwood School District Editor’s note: This post was adapted from a longer piece originally posted on Jen’s Blog on the Norwood…

School Food Initiative Resources

Interview Your School Food Service Director: Students

Talking Points: School Food

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative: Carving out a Model for Sustainable Scratch Cooking in Colorado Schools

By Leslie Levine, Technical Assistance & Research Manager, LiveWell Colorado   I am the longest-running employee at LiveWell Colorado, so I have been around to witness many transitions in the LiveWell@School Food Initiative program model…

LiveWell@School Food Initiative Map

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative

Retired military leaders tell Congress: “retreat is not an option” on healthy school foods

Parents Support Healthier School Food Policies by 3-to-1 Margin

School Food Plays a Key Role in Preventing Childhood Obesity

School districts around the state are taking steps to make sure Colorado’s students are getting the right kind of nutrition for successful learning, a critical focus given September is both National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month…

LiveWell Colorado to USDA: School Food Standards are a Strong Step Forward for Student Health

In January, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed updated nutrition standards for meals served in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.  LiveWell Colorado supports the proposed changes, include requiring more fat-free and low-fat milk…

Join Our School Food Revolution

Last week, students from four Denver Public High Schools competed in our third annual EatWell@School Cooking Competition at the Culinary Labs at Johnson & Wales University. The competition was part of a unique nine-week after-school…

Test Driving Healthy School Food–the new USDA Nutritional Guidelines

As you may know, school lunches have become a touchy subject in the last few years, as everyone from parent groups to the federal government to Jamie Oliver have pushed for an overhaul. Considering more than 32 million…

Cafeteria Manager Champions Healthy School Food at Lowry

I recently went to lunch with my 3rd grade daughter for Take Your Parents to Lunch day at Lowry Elementary school in east Denver. As any proud parent wants to do, I wanted to brag…

Montrose Hosts Culinary ‘Boot Camp’ For School Food Staff

Reading, Writing and Raisins: How School Food Innovations are Reducing Childhood Obesity

Curbing Competitive School Foods and Drinks May Help Fight in Childhood Obesity

Raising Awareness for School Food Programs

Hungry for Local: School Food Service Director Says Bye to Processed Food

Most U.S. Adults Favor Healthy School Food

LiveWell in Action at Colorado School Nutrition Association Event

LiveWell’s School Food Initiative Chefs Stir Up Excitement at CSNA’s 2017 Conference in Denver LiveWell’s School Food Initiative (SFI) chef consultants were in action again at the Colorado School Nutrition Association’s (CSNA) annual summer conference…

LiveWell Community Spotlight | Montrose, CO

How One Small Community is Creating Big Change In the small western Colorado city of Montrose you’ll find one of the greatest examples of what can happen when residents, nonprofit and community organizations, schools, local…

July Policy Digest

LiveWell Policy Digest: July 2017 Local Policy Update Westwood Recreation Center A recreation center for Westwood will officially be a part of Denver’s general obligation bond which will be put to voters in November’s municipal…

Exploring New Frontiers for Healthy Food Access in Colorado

Exploring New Frontiers for Healthy Food Access in Colorado A look at how public institutions can contribute to a more sustainable, equitable food system in our state One of LiveWell Colorado’s primary goals is to…

February Policy Digest

February Policy Digest: The Legislative Session Picks Up Steam State Policy Update Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council Bill Passes First Hurdle in House, Awaits Budget Hearing  COFSAC Bill Through First Legislative Challenge: Our Colorado Food Systems Advisory…

It’s No Bologna: Evaluating Healthy School Lunches

By Dan Schober, Program Evaluator & Founder at Informed Community Health Editor's note: This post was originally published on LinkedIn. "I waited…in anticipation…”please get this” I hoped, as the students worked…" Across the country, schools…

LiveWell Shares Lessons Learned at American Public Health Association’s 2016 Conference in Denver

LiveWell Shares Lessons Learned at American Public Health Association's 2016 Conference in Denver The American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo was held October 29 through November 2 in Denver. The event brought together more…

School Lunch as a Teaching Tool

School Lunch as a Teaching Tool Promoting your salad bar through fun events and more By Chef Dina Paz LiveWell’s School Food Initiative (SFI) believes that school lunch deserves more than a heat-and-serve buffet. Move…

Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October

Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October By Charles Severance-Medaris, Policy & Communications Coordinator, LiveWell Colorado “That’s a zucchini,” remarked a third-grade girl while grabbing for the basket of fruits and veggies waiting for her as she…

Conversations with Experienced Backbone Leaders: LiveWell Colorado’s Gabriel Guillaume

*Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the Collective Impact Forum's blog by Hollie Marston.  We hope you’re enjoying our conversations with experienced backbone leaders. In this installment, we had the pleasure of sitting down recently with Gabriel…

Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” Film: Thoughts from LiveWell’s School Nutrition & Food Systems Experts

Michael Pollan’s "In Defense of Food" Film: Reflections from LiveWell’s Nutrition, School Food & Food Systems Experts LiveWell Colorado recently co-hosted three Denver-area public screenings of Michael Pollan’s film, In Defense of Food. Two of…

LiveWell Voices: Five Questions with Chef Sally

“Good and good for you.” That’s always been Chef Sally Ayotte’s motto when describing her passion for food, and it shows. Her LiveWell@School Food Initiative recipe, Craisy Pumpkin Breakfast Bars, just won the Learning ZoneXpress Soar…

Community Spotlight | LiveWell Leadville: Building a Culture of Health in Lake County

Each year, the Colorado Education Initiative’s Healthy School Champions program recognizes Colorado schools that have successfully created a healthy school environment. With the support of the Colorado Health Foundation, the program has awarded more than…

Fresh Faces and Fresh Food: LiveWell Chaffee County’s Farm to School Collaborative

The farm to school movement has been building momentum throughout the country, as schools and communities look for innovative ways to get kids eating healthier. One of our community coalitions, LiveWell Chaffee County, has gained…

Cafeterias Dish Out Fresh and Healthy Changes to CO Kids

I just received a letter from my daughter’s school sharing that the school cafeteria has undergone a makeover and has a new look. A neighbor received a letter from her child’s school stating that they…

Resources from Chef Ann Foundation

Chef Ann Foundation’s resource website The Lunch Box is an online resource that is dedicated to supporting school districts as they transition their food programs from processed foods to scratch cooking and fresh ingredients. The…

EatWell@School Cooking Competition Winner Announced

Chicken shish kebabs. Homemade hummus. Orange mélange. The recipes and cooking expertise displayed at Friday night’s EatWell@School Cooking Competition looked like an episode of Iron Chef. The skillets were hot, the competition was fierce, and,…

Why Every Mom Should Cheer for Healthier School Lunches

I was that mom. You know the one. The mom who snubbed the plastic tray and refused to succumb to the whole grain corn dog. I committed to send a perfect balanced lunch in a…

How to Advocate for Healthy School Options

We were reluctant to purchase school lunch. We had packed our children’s lunch through preschool and were not sure if the school would take such care and offer the high quality we had prefer for…

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Spotlights Potential For Action in Colorado

Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed September to be National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the Colorado Health Foundation and LiveWell Colorado have joined efforts to bring awareness to and solutions for the issue in Colorado. These…

Kathy DelTonto Healthy Lunchroom Hero

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,…

T.A.S.T.E

5 easy ways to get community support for healthy school meals – just remember to T.A.S.T.E.! T. Tell everyone by sharing your news! Are you testing a new salad dressing? Ordering new produce? Unveiling a new…

Colorado High School Students Cook Up Healthy Change for School Lunch

Last week, students from three Denver Public High Schools competed in our fourth annual EatWell@School Cooking Competition at the Culinary Labs at Johnson & Wales University. We can’t wait to tell you who won! The…

Fruit Salad Cups

This is a winning recipe from the 2013 EatWell@School Cooking Competition. Students at Manual High School in Denver stuck to strict school food nutrition guidelines and a budget of less than $1 per student when creating this…

Calabacitas

This is a winning recipe from the 2013 EatWell@School Cooking Competition. Students at Manual High School in Denver stuck to strict school food nutrition guidelines and a budget of less than $1 per student when creating this…

Chile Verde with Turkey and Brown Rice

This is a winning recipe from the 2013 EatWell@School Cooking Competition. Students at Manual High School in Denver stuck to strict school food nutrition guidelines and a budget of less than $1 per student when creating…

Five Minutes with LiveWell Mom Eileen

Eileen Dolbeare is passionate not just about feeding her family healthy foods. She is dedicated to truly educating her young children about whythey should choose fresh fruits, veggies and other minimally processed foods. Read on to…

Five Minutes with LiveWell Mom Quinha

Energetic Quinha McBride was determined to teach her two toddlers how to eat well and enjoy the outdoors while they were young. Now, this active family can enjoy exploring Colorado and leading a healthier lifestyle,…

EatWell@School Cooking Competition Winners Head to D.C.

On May 23, students from Denver’s Martin Luther King Jr. Early College will take part in the ultimate food fight with teams of aspiring chefs from high schools in Chicago, Jacksonville, Fla., St. Louis, Washington, D.C.…

Congress’ Changes to School Meal Nutrition Standards Do Not Get a Passing Grade…But Local Efforts Do

From loving parents to dedicated school nutritionists, concern is quickly spreading throughout our country over Congress’ changes to the proposed new USDA School Meal Nutrition Guidelines in the final version of a spending bill released…

My Friend, Martha

Originally published on My Moon by Megan Murillo For today's post, I want to introduce you to my friend, Martha.  I first met Martha when she lived in Pueblo and we bonded over having little kids, being…

Kids’ Lunchtime Wishlists

Originally posted on the WishFit Blog on August 29, 2012 School is back in session, and that means many kids are back in the lunch line. Last week I shared some fresh ideas for packed…

Take Your Parents to Lunch Day

Originally posted on the Wishfit Blog on October 19, 2012 Oh, how I wish this post was all about how Garrett dipped into his hard-earned allowance money and treated me to lunch at saaaayyy, Linger in Denver.…