Café is a tasty and nutritious supplement to help our children start their day at Maple Street. Café provides a suite of foods that satisfy each of these goals:
Café foods provide a healthy balance of nutrients and do not consist of artificial ingredients or high levels of salt or sugars. Where possible, locally grown and seasonal produce will be used for Café. Fruits and vegetables that are in season and available locally/regionally will be more flavorful and healthy (as well as having a lower carbon footprint).
Café can be a place where our children are exposed to new flavors, textures and ingredients. We encourage children to try a variety of grains by serving crackers made from quinoa, millet, rice and other non-wheat grains. Exposure to foods from other countries and cultures can also provide a fun experience for our children.
Many fruits and vegetables have very high levels of pesticides and herbicides that cannot be removed even with rinsing or washing. We only serve produce that has been found to have low levels of pesticides or should serve organic versions of high-pesticide produce. For example, the produce with the highest levels of pesticides are: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, cherries, kale, grapes, carrots, pears, plums, and raspberries. These fruits and vegetables are only served if they are organic. If this is not feasible, then lower-pesticide produce will be served: avocado, pineapple, mango, kiwi, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, bananas.
Additionally trans fats (hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils) are unhealthy and actively discouraged by Department of Health code, so we try to stay away from them completely. The same applies to some sugars and artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, aspartame (Nutrasweet), saccharine (Sweet and Low), and sucralose (Splenda).
Finally, we want to remember that we abide by an allergy policy in our family handbook, and that to keep children with life-threatening food allergies safe, current school policy is to keep foods containing sesame, peanuts and tree nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) out of school and to notify teachers when students bring eggs and foods containing eggs and dairy to school, so allergic students can eat lunch at a separate table.