Food is an important part of every student's day – and at Pickering College, we recognize that and take food seriously. We believe in nurturing healthy minds and healthy bodies, and this has informed our approach to the meals we serve. We believe that kids are happier at school and better able to learn when they have a balanced meal. We know variety is important as well as nutrition. Our menus are reviewed by a nutritionist and we serve homestyle meals, with a focus on local, homemade and fun meal choices.
Healthy mind; healthy body
As a Day and Boarding School we serve a lot of meals each year. During the school year our food services team provides breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. Our food services team also cater many special events at the school and provide catering services for outside functions at the school. They create some extraordinary meals! There is a morning recess and after school tuck shop offered, which is the only additional cost.
Offering seasonal menus and choice
Our breakfast includes a variety of hot items, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, toast, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch has two hot meal choices, one of which is always a vegetarian option. Our hot meal options are accompanied by a fresh salad bar, sandwich bar and two homemade soup choices. Most of the time, we have family-style lunches where students and teachers sit together. Our senior students have two days a week where we serve a buffet lunch and the students do not have to sit in specific groups. Dinner also has hot meal options and is accompanied by a salad bar.
We recognize that children are more likely to eat nutritious food when it’s fun. That’s why we come up with creative approaches to serving food, such as creating restaurant style cultural-themed weekly family dinners for our boarding students. We promote eating mindfully and with gratitude by beginning our meals with grace and a moment of silence.
To ensure we are taking advantage of seasonal choices, and to increase variety, we create a five week menu in September that’s changed up for the winter in January, and again in the spring.
Locally farmed food
Local food tastes better because it is so fresh, leaves a much smaller environmental footprint, is safer because it has passed through fewer hands and time zones and supports the local economy.
It also offers our students more nutrients since fresh produce loses valuable minerals and nutrients the longer it is in transit. Because of our focus on local food, not only do our menus change to reflect the seasons, but if possible we purchase from local suppliers first. For example, all of the dairy and egg products served on campus and over half of our produce are locally farmed.
Pickering College is leading the way among independent schools as the only one in Ontario to produce its own food using Urban CultivatorTM technology.
Prepared from scratch
To make meals as nutritious as possible, we prepare many things from scratch and are very careful about how we cook our food. For example, due to the high sodium content in processed foods, we choose to make our own tomato sauce and pizza dough. Our homemade soups and sauces use our own vegetable, chicken or veal stock as a base. We offer vegetarian menus and accommodate students with allergies, diabetes or celiac disease. Our entire lunch menu is prepared by baking, grilling, steaming, poaching, braising or sautéing and our primary students have milk and a vegetable platter on their table every day.