This month we would like to highlight the efforts of the two dietitians at Clark County School District (CCSD):
Christina Saheb RDN, LD and Lory Hayon RDN, LD.
You can follow @CCSDfoodservice on social media platforms.
These two dietitians were nominated due to their phenomenal work during the pandemic. CCSD food service uses a central kitchen. When schools closed and COVID guidelines for social distancing were released, the food service team had to come up with multiple plans. Christina and Lory brainstormed with their team on the best ways to follow these new guidelines while still feeding nutrient dense foods to those in need.
Christina oversees the central kitchen and plans all the menus. She is able to make a difference by creating healthy menus for children to eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Her healthy menus have a large impact as they were served to over 1.3 million students each week during the last school year.
Lory oversees special diets, including allergens and modified textures. Lory is also in charge of special events, social media and marketing, and the fresh fruit and vegetable program at the elementary level. Lory makes a difference by researching products and providing more fresh fruits and vegetables that some students have never even seen before.
Christina and Lory make a strong team. They work together on developing and researching new items for the menu but also have different roles they complete independently. “Divide and conquer” is their motto. They stressed that they are only two members of a much larger team. The combined efforts of team members at schools, warehouse workers, the procurement department, and student workers are essential. The student workers come up with ideas and test potential items for menus. All departments are essential for a smooth operation.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a direct impact on these two dietitian’s roles at CCSD. The pandemic has made it difficult to forecast how much food is needed for this coming school year. It is still unknown when school is starting, how many students will be eating meals, or if the supply chain will be impacted.
CCSD is currently operating under the Summer Food Service Program which allows meals to be served to children from 2-18. All children are able to utilize this program, not just CCSD students. This has significantly increased the amount of meals they are able to provide to the community. They have now served over 4 million meals in just a matter of months!
These two dietitians had to quickly adapt and change procedures once the pandemic started. Online platforms are being utilized as much as possible for meetings and training purposes. The pandemic also impacted how meals are served in the schools. All foods must now be packaged, changing the way open food, such as the salad bar, operate.
Lory recommends to pursue the field of dietetics you are most interested in but to also be flexible as new opportunities arise all the time. She reports she would never have thought she would end up in food service. Lory and Christina both love the outdoors and share a strong interest in camping.
Question of the Month: What is your favorite school cafeteria foods?
Do you know a fellow professional who makes a difference? Please email Newsletter@EatRightNevada.org or click here to nominate a member for a future spotlight.
Supporting Nevada Nutrition Professionals