Balsz Bistro: School district food truck ensuring students have access to healthy food

Balsz Bistro: School district food truck ensuring students have access to healthy food

Eat a variety of foods that are good for you, including whole grains (breads and crackers made with whole wheat or other whole grain flour), brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and hulled barley. Choose lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds. Add lower fat milk, yogurt and kefir to your diet.

PHOENIX — What’s better on a hot Arizona day than a nice, cold snow cone?

But these are more than just icy cool treats – it’s a way for the Balsz Elementary School District to reach students and families and provide them with quality food.

“Once I saw it, I was so excited about the opportunity to get this out in the streets working in the community and look how beautiful it is,” explains Dr. George Barnes, Superintendent for the Balsz Elementary School District.

Dr. Barnes is talking about his district’s new food truck, which has been in operation for the past year.

“It’s the ‘wow’ factor,” explains Claude Chatelain, Balsz’s Food Services Director.

Chatelain first cooked up the idea four years ago as a way to ensure his students had better access to healthy food.

“I love food. I love good food, fresh food. It’s a passion to me,” says Chatelain. “My idea behind it was to help students make better food choices and the food truck is a good tool for that because it’s unique, it’s different, it generates some interest from the students…we try to have food from scratch, healthy food, fresh produce, fresh veggies.”

ABC15 stopped by a track meet at Griffith Elementary School and even the snow cones were made with real fruit juices and less sugar.

Every single student in this district is offered breakfast and lunch free of charge through what’s known as a Community Eligibility Provision – it’s a meal option provided by the USDA that’s tailored to meet the needs of districts in low-income communities.

And that’s not the only issue families here face. We checked with the USDA and saw that many places in the Balsz District are considered to be food deserts or areas where there are little to no healthy, affordable food options.

“What I love about this food truck is that we are looking at fresh foods that are good for the body and taste great to the tongue so we are showing kids you can have things really yummy for your soul and beautiful for your body.”


Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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