Saddleback Valley Unified School District is now offering gluten free meals thanks to the efforts of a Girl Scout.
As part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Mission Viejo High School student Holly Nelson approached district Food Services Director Riki Pollard with the suggestion of developing a gluten-free menu. Nelson suffers from Celiac Disease, which affects 1 out of 133 people, including children. People with Celiac Disease cannot tolerate eating gluten, a protein found in all forms of wheat, rye, and barley. Pollard told her that she had received several requests for gluten-free foods. They began working together to create gluten-free options.
The school district now produces gluten-free entrees in a designated section of the SVUSD Nutrition Center using special equipment and utensils. The entrees are then pre-packaged, frozen, and delivered to school sites. Parents notify the cafeteria manager or office manager to request meals.
When a request is made for food services to provide gluten free meals for a student, the first step is to have the child’s physician complete a medical statement, which can be downloaded at
Gluten-free entrees offered include teriyaki chicken; macaroni and cheese; sweet & sour chicken; chicken alfredo; and spaghetti and meat sauce. The entrees are served with carrots or celery, apple slices, juice and milk.
“It is rewarding to know that kids with gluten intolerance now have the option to buy a school lunch,” Nelson said.
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