Ants on a log are an old favorite of parents trying to sneak some nutrition into their children’s diets. Now this classic treat has made its way to several Valley schools, thanks to the clever tricks of renowned Chef Eddie Matney.
Parents and administrators alike were worried about the lack of nutritional choices on schools’ lunch carts. Chips and cookies certainly satisfy those junk food cravings, but not the balanced diet Mom and Dad want for their children.
Scottsdale Unified School District Foodservice Director Sue Bettenhausen wrote a letter to parents with a fresh idea to revamp the cafeteria. Luckily, Matney offered his help, and a new favorite was born. On his decision to offer his expertise, Matney shrugs it off as a no-brainer.
“The biggest reason was our kids,” Matney, a father of two, says.
Chef Eddie’s Snack Wagon offers healthy treats not found in a typical school. Fruit on a stick and hummus and pita chips are just a few of the delicious options for students to diversify their diets.
“These kids need to know that if they make the right choices with food it will not only affect their day, but they’ll make the right choices when they get older,” Matney says.
Matney goes on to say that the old perceptions of children’s knowledge about food are completely outdated.
“Kids nowadays are much more educated about food. A lot of parents take their kids out to dinner and they understand what edamame is and what different types of food are,” he says.
Serving the food in a unique way has also proven to be a hit. Traditional fruit cups have been transformed into fruit kebabs and “it becomes fun for the kids to eat,” Matney says.
So what is the outcome of this daring voyage into healthy foods for our kids? It seems safe to say that the most important critics of all — the kids themselves — have embraced their new and tasty treats.
“Kids love it, parents love it, (the) school loves it,” he says. “It’s gone over very well.”
And Matney hopes to continue his involvement with the schools, changing the landscape of lunchtime for the better.