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DCSD Nutrition Services Dietitian Kasja Larson strives to meet student need, regulatory standards

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Lunch menus for public schools which strive to comply with USDA Regulations for the National School Lunch Program and satisfy student needs and diverse tastes must be carefully crafted. Creating such menus can be a bit of a tight rope experience.
“While there is tremendous outcry for ‘healthy, great-tasting’ meals, there are huge differences of opinion as to what constitutes a ‘healthy, great-tasting’ meal,” said DCSD Nutrition Services Director Brent Craig.

Enter DCSD’s nutrition dynamic duo: Registered Dietitian (RD) Kasja Larson and Chef Jason Morse, CEC. 

Morse was recruited by DCSD over two years ago as part of the National Chefs Move to Schools movement and is defining what it means to be a chef involved with school lunch. 

This year the heavily credentialed RD, Larson, joined Morse as part of DCSD Nutrition Services’ ongoing effort to fulfill its mission to “… offer nutritious, appealing meals and ala carte food items to DCSD students and personnel while supporting the DCSD community with resources which promote optimum learning and wellness.”

Larson works closely with Morse, creating school menus to meet standards and satisfy student palates. 

“Kasja is the yin to my yang,” said Morse, “She went to culinary school and brings all her other tremendous credentials to the table.  We communicate on the same level.  She helps me understand the nutritionals.” Morse credits Larson for helping Nutrition Services to meet both student need as well as USDA regulation.

Prior to becoming a dietitian, Larson earned a business degree (BS, University of MN), and degree in culinary arts (Associates, Art Institute of CO).  She entered the food industry, serving as a Restaurant Manager and later a Catering & Tournament Director at a country club.  After a hiatus to be an at-home mom with her pre-school-aged children, she sought to return to the food industry as her kids began school.

“As an at-home mom, I developed a new-found interest in child nutrition and teaching kids about healthy eating habits,” explains Larson.  The interest fueled Larson’s quest to seek yet another degree, a BS in Dietetics (University of Northern Colorado).  Larson served part of her dietetic internship at DCSD Nutrition Services and was later offered the position of DCSD Dietitian.

“Kasja is a gem.  We are fortunate to be one of the few school districts in the nation that has both a chef and a dietitian working so closely to create our menus.  Our department’s mission is to serve and Kasja has a special heart for seeking to provide the best for our students,” said Craig.

Kasja Larson resides in Franktown, CO with her husband and their two children, along with two horses, three dogs and a cat.  In addition to Kasja’s love of cooking, she is active in her church community, Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church, and Franktown Elementary PTO. Kasja enjoys riding her horse, gardening, skiing, hiking and camping with her family.

April 25, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category: Communications

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DCSD is requesting parent input on the health and wellness of our students. Last year, DCSD received a large planning grant from Colorado Health Foundation in an effort to assess how the district supports students through the lens of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC). The mission of this grant is to review the current state of DCSD's student health and wellness program, and then formulate a three to five-year plan based on stakeholders’ needs, the latest research, and best practices. As part of this process, we would like your input.

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