Tag Archives: healthy eating

Recipes to Get You Ripped! Or, Just Eat Healthier

After the clock hits midnight, the New Year begins and everyone’s New Year’s resolutions will start (some the next day, some on Monday). For many, their goal is to drop the pounds and hit the gym more often. While you can work out until you turn blue in the face, cooking and eating healthier is one of the most essential parts to losing weight. Eating healthy doesn’t require salads and plain chicken all the time either! So many websites offer healthy versions of your favorites including pasta, casseroles, “fried” food and more! Here are some great healthy recipes to get you going – but be sure to do some of your own research to find what you really love.


Photo Credit: SkinnyTaste

Photo Credit: SkinnyTaste

Blueberry Banana Bread (SkinnyTaste)

Green Morning Smoothie (Food Network)

Spinach Artichoke Feta Breakfast Bake (SkinnyTaste)

Petite Crust-less Quiche (SkinnyTaste)

Vanilla Bean and Blueberry Chia Pudding (The Healthy Family & Home)


Lasagna Soup (SkinnyTaste)

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Delish)

Photo Credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo Credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad (SkinnyTaste)

Mediterranean Chicken Wraps (Better Homes and Gardens)

Egg Roll in a Bowl (Frugal Healthy Life)


One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta (SkinnyTaste)

Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey over Rice (Weary Chef)

Skinny Italian Stuffed Peppers (The Skinny Fork)

Cilantro Lime Chicken Sliders with Tomato Guacamole (Little Broken)

Lighter Honey-Sesame Chicken (Cooking Classy)

Photo Credit: SkinnyTaste

Photo Credit: SkinnyTaste


Greek 7 Layer Dip (SkinnyTaste)

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing (Cooking Classy)

Zucchini Parmesan Chips (Damn Delicious)

100-Calorie Apple Oatmeal Muffins (Fit Bottomed Eats)

Mini Cauliflower Pizzas (Damn Delicious)


Nicer Krispie Squares (Plant Powered Kitchen)

5-Ingredient Almond Cake with Fresh Berries (SkinnyTaste)

Skinny Mocha Banana Crunch Ice Cream (Whole & Heavenly Oven)

Greek Yogurt Strawberry Popsicles (Simply Healthy Home)

Peanut Butter Banana Cups (Skinny Ms.)

Let’s Do This!

Ready to get busy in the kitchen with these healthy recipes? Before you start, shop Central and make sure you have all of the supplies you’ll need including baking sheets, muffin pans, blenders, knives and more! Call one of our superheroes (our Product Consultants) with any questions you might have at 800-215-9293, or you can chat with them live!

School Nutrition Standards: What You Need to Know

Now more than ever, Americans are focusing more on nutrition. Many food service establishments are offering a wider variety of healthier options – including gluten-free, dairy-free, all natural, vegan and vegetarian.

The focus on more nutritious foods certainly has caught on in schools, as well. In February 2013, a proposed rule was presented to require the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in school. These school nutrition standards will go beyond the current Federal child nutrition programs for schools.

Starting July 1, 2014, the new standards will go into effect at schools nationwide. The law specifies that the standards apply to all foods sold at schools, any time of the day. This includes a la carte items in the cafeteria, snack bars, and vending machines.

General Standards for Food

To be allowable, a food item must:

  • Be a whole grain rich product, or
  • Have a fruit, vegetable, dairy, or protein food be the first ingredient, or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of a nutrient of public health concern (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dischool nutrition blenderetary fiber)

For more details, read the full school nutrition standards from the USDA.

Products For School Nutrition

To help keep school foods healthier, why not try some new equipment? Central carries many options to allow users to easily prepare the healthiest meals!

  • Blenders and food processors can be a great way to change things up in your cafeteria. They can be used to make soups, sauces, nut butters, and delicious healthy smoothies! You can also save money by using unused produce in one of these items to create new recipes.
  • Combi ovens are a great option for schools. They have three functions – convection, steam, and combination cooking. These ovens provide a versatile and healthy way to prepare a variety of foods. Use a combi to cook rice, vegetables, fish, and much more. Combi ovens help to reduce shrinkage, which can help to preserve your food product. If different dishes are prepared at the same time, each retain its flavor, vitamins and nutritional value.
  • Tilting skillets are another versatile piece of equipment. They have a large capacity and can be used to grill, simmer, braise, and more. The tilt design allows for convenient transfer of food to serving pans.

school nutrition combi

Whatever your school needs, Central is here to help! Call us at 1-800-215-9293 or shop online today!

10 Back to School Products and Ideas for School Cafeterias

The beginning of the school year is the best time to go over standards and policies.  It’s also the time to make sure all the right tools are available to make every day a successful one.

Here are 10 products and ideas from Central to help get your cafeteria started right for the upcoming school year.

1. Food safety is critical.  All cafeteria employees should go over proper food and hand washing techniques at the beginning of the year, followed by periodic refresher meetings and posted signage.  Also, when wearing gloves, upon stepping away from a workstation, or moving on to another task (even if just for a second), dispose of the gloves immediately and put on a new pair when returning.

2. There are trays designed for a quick turnaround.  Melamine compartment trays dry the quickest and are an excellent choice for schools with a quick turnaround. Click on any of the following for more information: #17K-046, #17K-047, #17K-051 and #17K-052.

3. Planning menus in advance, and making them easy to access, helps everyone.  Can students and parents easily access your menus?  If they are only sent home with students, don’t forget about the ones who lose things easily or forget to take things home. Consider posting menus online and also having menu boards in the cafeteria. This way, everyone stays informed.

4. Cold food/salad bars are a great way to make fruits and vegetables available for children and promote healthy eating habits.  These types of food bars are really making their way into schools.  Even one of Michelle Obama’s initiatives of “Let’s Move!” includes the campaign for “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.”  The Carlisle Six-Star food bar or Cambro Versa Bars are great choices that come in a youth height for easy access.

5. Create a rewards program to help teach students healthy eating habits.  Make sure the program doesn’t reward with more food—especially junk food.  Work with other members of the school to create incentives to eat healthier such as free time or fun activities.

6. Learning doesn’t have to stop during lunch time.  On top of promoting healthy eating habits, use meal times to inform students of your school’s green initiatives and get them involved. This can set them up to be environmentally conscious in their every day life.

7. Food allergies are very serious.  All workers should be prepared in the event of an emergency, even if you don’t have any students to your knowledge with allergies.  A student’s life can depend on it. In last week’s resources blog, we found excellent information about food allergies from the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, including this Food Action Plan.

8. When shopping, there are warranties exclusive to schools.  Keep your eye out for these. Some brands that have these special warranties are Garland, Vulcan, APW Wyott, Cres Cor, Duke and Univex. (At Central, we mention ours in our school catalogs. Feel free to contact a Product Consultant for help).

9. Keep cereal fresh.  For breakfast programs, cereal dispensers keep food fresh, save space and control portion sizes.

10. Dispose of the disposables. For flatware, both the Windsor and Dominion medium weights are great options for schools as well as our Central Exclusive Tumblers. Also, while you may not always think of ice as a disposable, have you ever considered reusable ice? It saves money and you will never have to deal with the mess regular ice can bring. Check out mat #647-001 or singles #647-002.  And if you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, the Jackson CREW44 conveyor dishwasher is one of the top picks for schools.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s resources blog to keep informed going into the school year. Also, check out our February blog “Top 10 Ways Central Can Help Your Cafeteria Go Green” if you’re looking to make your school cafeteria more eco-friendly.  Don’t forget to share your favorite products and ideas below.

Thanks to Central’s Category Managers Laura Bedillion and Elizabeth Price for providing great product suggestions.

Central Supports Michelle Obama’s Initiative to Put Salad Bars in Schools

Salad bars have been the buzz in school foodservice news lately, with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.  This stems from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools’ vision is simple—increase the amount of salad bars in schools enabling all children the choice of fruits and vegetables at school.

The goal of this initiative anticipates the funding and granting of 6000 salad bars to schools over the next three years.  Their goal is to raise $15,000,000 and so far, they’ve raised $1,416,586 and have granted 552 salad bars.

Why salad bars? There are many reasons.  In an article by the Houston Press, they stated the results of a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 which concluded only one percent of adolescents ate the correct serving of fruit and vegetables recommended by the then-current 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  (Check out their website for the latest update from 2010).


These numbers are astounding. We’ve found many other similar statistics for previous blog posts with similar results—all stemming down to the core issue that children aren’t meeting the nutritional standards they need.

The National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance, The Lunchbox, United Fresh and Whole Foods have all got on board with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.

Whole Foods has had their own similar campaign called the Salad Bar Project.  They have since announced themselves as a founding partner with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Campaign.

In early February, Whole Foods announced they would award grants for over 500 free salad bars.  A PR Newswire release said Whole Foods, through the Salad Bar Project, had an original goal to raise $750,000.  With shopper’s donations, they exceeded expectations and raised $1.4 million in September 2010.

Schools receiving the donations will get a salad bar kit, which includes a five-well Cambro® salad bar that also includes utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. These tools can also be found on The Lunch Box’s website.

Schools who would like to receive a salad bar through Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can apply here, and those who would like to add to the cause and make a donation can do so by clicking the “Donate to a School” link on the homepage—which will direct you through which school or district you would like to help.

Also, if you’re a school with the funding and are searching for ways to make your school healthier, a salad bar is the way to go.  Central has a variety options and accessories to make this possible for your foodservice application.  Browse the website, look in our catalog or contact a Product Consultant at 800-222-5107 with any questions you may have about salad bars.

Healthy Changes for the U.S. Military

Becoming healthier isn’t just a New Year’s resolution for many U.S. civilians, but now it’s one for the army as well.   Military training sites all over the country are making healthier guidelines for soldiers.  The change began when the Army became worried about a decrease in the fitness of soldiers.

Mess halls will see juice and milk in place of soda and junk food will begin to disappear.

The U.S. Army’s website discusses the importance of making healthy choices saying both exercise and nutrition are key for maintaining total fitness.

Just like many Americans, an article by the Associated Press says many of the newer soldiers haven’t put too much thought into their own diet.  In a quote from Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, he backs this up by saying poor food choices aren’t just an army problem but a civilian problem they are receiving and fixing.

The first step is making diet changes.

Visually, most changes will be in eating areas.  In a similar story by Binghampton, New York’s news station, Fox 40 WICZ, they spoke with Dr. Helen Battisti who said the military believes a start to producing a quality recruit begins with the food.

Photo from Free Digital Photos

But this new program will go much further than just food; it will also change the soldier’s overall health and fitness.

“The ‘soldier athlete’ initiative is designed to prepare recruits with training methods similar to those of elite athletes – including greater use of professional trainers, physical therapists, and strength and conditioning coaches,” the AP article reports.

They also discuss how fitness will change.  The new system will concentrate on preventing injury, flexibility and mobility, coordination and aerobic endurance.

“Outdated exercises such as bayonet drills are being eliminated in favor or core strength workouts more commonly practiced in the aerobics studio.”

Currently, changes are being made to basic and advanced training sites.

In sites where new guidelines have been implemented, fewer injuries have been reported and soldiers are scoring higher on physical fitness tests.

Chipotle Is Donating $100,000 For Your Junk Mail

QSR magazine recently reported on Chipotle’s “No Junk” campaign.

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it would double its donation to The Lunch Box if its new goal of 1 million junk e-mails is reached by August.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “No Junk” campaign encouraged Americans to forward their junk e-mails to nojunk@chipotlejunk.com.  The campaign’s original donation was $50,000, because of the campaign’s success Chipotle has increased the possible donation to $100,000 if its new goal was reached by August.

The “No Junk” campaign was set up so that each forwarded piece of junk e-mail will help provide nutritious cafeteria meals for school children around the country through the partnership with The Lunch Box.  For every 100,000 junk e-mails Chipotle receives, the company donates $10,000 to The Lunch Box.  This will help provide approximately 32 million school children at 100,000 schools nationwide access to 100 school-tested, junk-free recipes created by Chef Ann Cooper, The Renegade Lunch Lady.

This campaign was launched on June 25 and its goal of 1,000,000 junk emails has been reached, which raised its maximum contribution to The Lunch Box of $100,000.

Congratulations to Chipotle and The Lunch Box on reaching your goal and donating healthy meals to children across the country.

Central Restaurant Products is Heading to Dallas!

The School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference (ANC) will be in Dallas this year. The conference will be home to more than 80 educational sessions that will provide new perspectives and best practices for your school’s nutrition program, and will play host to many vendors and distributors of foodservice equipment.

This conference could not come at a better time. In the current times of obesity in children and the Let’s Move! campaign school nutrition is under the microscope. Attend the seminars to learn how to provide healthier alternatives to children, how to prepare and produce food, plan menus, promote a positive image on your nutrition program and more.

Visit the exhibit hall to learn about the newest equipment available in the foodservice industry. Some of the vendors in attendance include; Cleveland Range, San Jamar, The Vollrath Company and of course, Central Restaurant Products.

Visit Don Hogan and Sarah Templeton at booth #1733 for your chance to win a CanPro. Also come see the Metro Holding and Transport Cabinet and samples of our exclusive compartment trays.

These trays are one of many products offered exclusively from Central.

Central has worked hard to bring you exceptional value on exclusive offerings you cannot get anywhere else! All Central Exclusive products have the following features:

  • Equal or better quality than the leading national brand
  • Value engineered by Central’s team of Product Experts
  • Offered only to Central Customers!

Enjoy the ANC, stop by our booth with any questions you may have and for your chance to WIN!