Dietetic Internship Update :: School Food Service {I’ve Got the Power!}

Week 1 of School Food Service… Check!

So far, this rotation has been a mix of awesome-incredible-wonderful and loathsome-contemptible-dreadful.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Day 1 :: Tour of the main kitchen/central office facilities, as well as the elementary school I will working at. I met the staff and volunteered to play a game/give a presentation during lunch time, which was promptly set up for the next day (!).

The rest of my day was filled with hours of reading school food guidelines. I am pretty much an expert now.

Day 2 :: The day began with peeling and chopping an entire case of sweet potatoes to serve to the kids during my presentation.

I made the mistake of my telling my preceptor that I wouldn’t consider myself a chef and that I don’t do a ton of cooking, which I think he took as I don’t know how to cook.  He was trying to tell me how to hold and use a knife…


PG-rated commentary.

Pro-Tip :: Don’t try and be modest, and down-play your strengths.  Be confident in your skills, or else deal with the exasperating consequences.

Side Note :: Have you ever had raw sweet potatoes, sliced into chip size, drizzled with honey? Me either until Wednesday, but damn it’s good! Try it!

Then I headed over to the elementary school to play my Fruit and Veggies of the Rainbow game!


The kids are freaking adorable. There were 3 lunches, so I got to play 3 different times.

Lemme tell you, there is nothing more fun and smile-inducing than making a cafeteria full of first and second graders scream the names of fruits and vegetables at the tops of their lungs.

And who would have thought it, but the kids GOBBLED up the sweet potatoes! #sweetsuccess

Then I came back to the office and brainstormed ideas to get kids to eat more fruits and veggies.


I liked my Eat a Rainbow Sticker Chart idea, so I went a little further with that…



And then created a survey to figure out which fruits and veggies the kids like most.


All in all, a fairly decent start to the rotation.

Day 3 :: I got in to work at 8 am and immediately started to do food prep once again. My first job was to chop up an entire case of zucchinis that needed to be used before they went bad.

Okay, so not that bad. Long, boring, time consuming. But I finished that. And then went back to my preceptor for more direction. “Oh, while you are at it, why don’t you chop up this case of cucumbers.”

My response:


Are you freaking kidding me.

But being the good little intern that I am, I of course completed my task with a smile on my face.

Ever wonder what 20lbs of chopped cucumber looks like?


Not. Fun. And now I have a freaking blister.

Chopping vegetables for 3 and 1/2 hours is not my idea of beneficial future RD training.

Needless to say, I was more than ready to get out of there and talk with kiddos more about their produce preferences.  Such a breath of fresh air.

Day 4 :: Remember when I was complaining about having to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn? Well Friday was my day to be there at 6am to get an idea of how the tray-line worked.

I scooped food on to trays to be sent all over the district, washed their dishes, cleaned up, and just as my preceptor was about to assign me to more chopping, I pulled him aside to chat about my objectives for this rotation.

I explained to him that I am here to get an idea of how he does his job, and that I have payed my dues as a dishwasher {coincidentally, my very first job}, line-worker, and in food prep.   I showed him the list of competencies I need to achieve before the rotation end {food costing, menu planning, budgeting, purchasing, attending meetings}.

I let him know that I completely appreciate the importance of understanding your staff’s responsibilities, and when necessary, stepping in to help out, but that I need to know the ins and outs of running the school food service business as future RD.

He was very receptive, and to my delight, we dug in on the business-side of food service.  Which I l.o.v.e.

{For some one who always hated math growing up, I sure do like budgeting and food costing. Weird, I know.}

So to all you girls and guys completing internships now or in the future, don’t be afraid to speak up and push for the experience you want out of your DI.  Afterall, you are not paying $12,000 to chop vegetables.  You have the power to make your internship in to what you want. 

I’m sure I will have more irksome tasks in my future, because, let’s face it, I am a lowly intern, BUT I now feel confident that I don’t have to take a backseat in the whole thing.

Life is good. And this rotation will be too – I can feel it!

Now I’m off to bake massive amounts of cookies for a Rotaract fundraiser and drink wine. Could volunteering get any better?!

Happy Saturday!


11 thoughts on “Dietetic Internship Update :: School Food Service {I’ve Got the Power!}

  1. I would like to dive into that 20lbs of cucumbers. And I’m glad you decided to step up and say something! I have a feeling I’ll need to do that at least once during my DI, but I’ve only had my Foodservice Management rotation thus far and have been lucky to have an awesome preceptor!


  2. I am happy that you stood up for yourself and didn’t get stuck being a lunch lady! I was a lunch lady for one week of my food service rotation (AH!) but thankfully got to experience the management side during the rest of the rotation. Thanks for sharing your experience and good luck!!


  3. Awesome that you spoke up for yourself! I not so secretly want to play that spinning wheel game with or without the cute screaming kiddo! LOL I’d also be amused by the results of that survey!


  4. I feel awful that I laughed when I read this. I feel your pain. On my first day during my food rotation the chef wanted to see if I knew how to cook. Which is when I braised pork ribs for six hours. LOL. Good for you for standing up!!!


  5. Pingback: Rotaract COOKIE Fundraiser | On the Road to RD

  6. Pingback: Since You’ve Been Gone | On the Road to RD

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