Barrington 220 "Tasty Tuesday" Healthy Eating Initiative - Courtesy of Barrington School District 220

Have you heard about Tasty Tuesday? Wondering what’s going on that tastes so good? It’s the latest initiative in Barrington School District 220’s effort to better educate our students on healthy eating.  They’re turning lunchtime into a teaching opportunity by having fun with featured foods.

Courtesy of Barrington School District 220

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Sodexho Food Service and our school PTOs are working to introduce one new healthy food to our students each month.

On the first Tuesday of the month, elementary school students will have an opportunity to sample a fruit or vegetable during lunch. Then, the same food item will be offered intermittently in the lunch menu for the remainder of the month. 

The district is also getting students involved on the middle and high school levels, where they’ll offer the fruit or veggie of the month and display posters about “Tasty Tuesday” in the cafeterias.  And, for early childhood students, a healthy snack of fruits or veggies will be offered twice a week.

The goal of the program is to provide elementary age students with increased opportunities to sample fruits and vegetables.  Why?  Because research shows that it takes five to twenty tastes before children begin to like a new food.

The district is also encouraging families to get involved by including the same fruit or vegetable in your menus at home throughout the month to increase opportunities for further taste testing.

October’s Tasty Tuesday food is Sweet Potatoes. You likely know that many studies point to the sweet potato as the number one healthiest vegetable.

One medium sweet potato contains only 130 calories, 2 grams of protein, less than one gram of fat, is low in sodium, contains a full day’s supply of vitamin C and provides 700% of the US RDA for Vitamin A. The antioxidants in the sweet potato may help to prevent heart disease and cancer, bolster the immune system and even slow aging by promoting good vision and healthy skin. Talk about a super food!

Below is one of my favorite, unique ways to use sweet potatoes, in the Sweet Potato Salad recipe from my 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook…

This superfood-charged, maple-vinegar topped salad is the perfect healthy alternative to fat-laden potato salad and is a great accompaniment to any barbeque.  For more options, CLICK HERE to find the sweet potato recipe page on my website at

Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinegar Dressing

Serves 6-8

6 cups sweet potatoes (approximately 3-4) peeled, and diced in 3/4″
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (about 6 strips)

Put diced sweet potatoes into large mixing bowl and stir in oil, salt and pepper to coat. Place coated potatoes on baking sheet in 375 degree F oven for 1 hour turning at least once (edges should be brown and crispy). Remove from oven and cool completely. Combine potatoes with onions, and bacon, and coat with Maple Vinegar Dressing.

November is days away and the Tasty Tuesday ingredient for the month is also on the top of my favorites list.  It’s cranberries. I have been cooking with cranberries for a long time. Like a tomato, I find that their sweet acidic nature makes them a perfect pairing for savory meats and vegetable dishes. Also, they are known as a natural cleanser and antioxidant and have the additional health benefits of vitamin c and fiber.

You can really take advantage of their availability in the next few months and try cranberries in so many new ways. See below for my favorite meat to serve at the holidays, Cranberry Brisket, from my 40 Dinner Duos cookbook, and CLICK HERE to find recipes on my website for Cranberry Apple Pie, Cranberry Holiday Meatballs and the best way to remake your Thanksgiving leftovers: Turkey and Cranberry Pie.

Cranberry Brisket

one 4-5 pound beef brisket
1 tablespoon steak seasoning (or one teaspoon each salt, pepper and garlic powder)
1 onion
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 – 14 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine

Season brisket with steak seasoning. Sear in a pan on stove. Add to large oven safe pot. Cover with onion. In separate bowl, combine cranberry sauce, tomato sauce, and red wine. Pour over brisket. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours until brisket is tender.

What Tasty Tuesday is doing is an issue close to my heart, as I am currently training with Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative, which has the same mission and an ultimate goal to reduce childhood obesity in our country.

But eaters of all ages are not off-limits to learn about new foods and better ways of eating. I encourage all of us to try to eat better, buy less processed prepackaged food and cook with fresher ingredients. And it’s easier than it sounds.

Looking for a bit more instruction on how to do this in your own home? I’m offering a Cooking retreat on November 9-11 in Oldenburg, IN. Also part of the retreat are yoga, led by Nirvana Yoga Studio’s Jean Masukevich, and Life Story Mapping, led by Sybil Towner, who was the Spiritual Director at Barrington’s Willow Creek church for 15 years. Visit the events area of my website at for more details.

*Photo Source 1 and Photo Source 2


About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular Friday food feature here at called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef, restaurant or food store or if you have a food related question that you’d like Kelly to answer, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE or simply leave your comment in the box below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog