By JOE SOVA, Lake County Leader
Congratulations to Polson School District and Nutrition Director Lindsay Ganong for being recognized by Governor and First Lady Bullock for outstanding achievements in the school nutrition program. Polson School District has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the Wholesome School Menu Award category of the First Lady School Nutrition Awards for efforts in increasing use of local foods and serving more scratch-made meals to students. The First Lady School Nutrition Awards happen yearly each spring, and are intended to encourage Montana schools to go above and beyond in prioritizing their food service program and provide well-deserved recognition to outstanding school nutrition teams, boost staff morale, and give school nutrition a place at the table.
The awards are meant to represent the best in positive school food change through nutrition, education, and innovation.
Polson School District was nominated for this award by Montana No Kid Hungry. Here is the written nomination, with all the information about why the award is deserved:
Lindsay Ganong is a dietitian and the Nutrition Director at Polson Schools. She began her position in 2017.
Her internship rotation with OPI allowed a better understanding of the requirements necessary to run a successful school operation. Plus, her nutrition background is vital for contributing to the nutrition and wellness needs of Polson’s students.
Professional Growth - She attended the Montana Cook Fresh School Nutrition Institute in summer 2018 to sharpen her skills and also extends those learning opportunities to her staff. The head
cook on her team has been there 26 years and just recently attended her first training at the Farm to School Summit.
There were no written recipes upon Lindsay’s arrival on the job, so she brought a chef in to help her kitchen team evaluate their new recipes, make changes to items based on the problem, and better understand what recipes to focus on based on the kitchen equipment available to them. For example, how to keep the vegetables added to their mac & cheese presentable through the hot holding or how to adjust their chicken Alfredo recipe when too starchy.
The Food - She operates the Harvest of the Month program and attempts to get in local items such as carrots, beet sticks, pumpkin, farro, and barley. There were very few scratch items prior to her start, but now she is serving scratch entrees 2-3 days/ week! They make their own salad/slaw dressings, homemade gravies and offer whole-grain and veggie- rich salad instead of offering graham crackers or cookies to students.
They also incorporate fresh foods to replace canned versions as much as possible. Within her first year, she’s made a huge difference to the health of Polson students.