Bilingual Nutrition Director Helps Better Serve Latino Population in CA Schools

Connecting with students and truly understanding the community you serve is paramount to a successful school meal program. Looking to serve the school district’s large population of latino children, Keppel Union School District (CA) Keppel USD has found ways to incorporate common latino dishes and flavors into their school menus. 

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 2.02.17 PM Director of Child Nutrition Services Lilian Arreguin, the district’s first bilingual director, combines a knowledge of child nutrition with her personal cultural experiences to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of her students. Students are offered a variety of familiar flavors and international foods, mixing local foods with Mexican and Asian cuisine.

“The fact that I’m bilingual and first generation Mexican American is a bonus in an ever-changing diverse population,” said Arreguin. “I relate to the student population in this area since I grew up eating the items the students now really enjoy. I am able to teach, translate and have better communication with our bilingual students, staff and parents. I attend some community meetings and I’m able to discuss with our parents the difference between having lunch with child nutrition versus having lunch at a fast food place.” Read more…

School Cafeterias On Trend During National School Lunch Week

During National School Lunch Week 2019, school districts are featuring Instagram-worthy, healthy school menus that tout trends highlighted in School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) recent national report. The 2019 Trends Survey reveals cafeterias across the country are offering students more international foods, locally sourced ingredients, antibiotic free proteins, customizable meals, whole grain rich foods and grab-and-go options on menus. Read more…

Recipe Contests Highlight CA District’s National School Lunch Week

School districts across the country are gearing up to celebrate this year’s music-themed National School Lunch Week (NSLW), “School Lunch: What’s On Your Playlist?” from October 14-18.  Schools like Capistrano Union School District (CA) are busy planning new recipe launches and highlighting some favorite school lunches during the week. The Food Service Department will share photos of their daily special entrée and daily vegan special entrée on their popular Instagram account, CapoFood. CUSD will also be creating morning announcements to hype up lunch every day during NSLW, complete with music, menu highlights and dancing.

“We are hoping that this week will put a bright spotlight on our program and reach some new students, parents and staff that might not be aware of all our program has to offer,” said Nutrition Specialist Shannon Illingworth. “We are so proud of the variety in our menu, especially our vegan choices.” Read more…

Fresh School Garden Produce Inspires New Menu Options

As the harvest season comes to an end and Farm to School Month approaches, Southampton Union Free School District (NY) school gardens final crops are producing  various squash and pumpkins for school meals. To ensure her students have access to healthy, fresh ingredients and nutritious new menu options throughout the whole school year, district Food Service Director Regan Kiembock works with a number of local farmers as well.21192762_1863359707014577_4104292490504018530_n

The district’s impressive garden is organized by the Southampton School Garden Committee and is funded through a number of grants. Since produce is regularly used in school meals, funds are set aside from the school lunch fund to buy supplies as needed. Nearby Cornell Cooperative Extension also helps support the gardening efforts with free seeds in the spring. Items grown in the school garden include a wide variety of lettuce, along with asparagus, onions, squashes, pumpkins, raspberries, kale, peas, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, beets and carrots. Read more…

Whole Grain Rich Options Abound in Schools

Whole grains are on school lunch trays to stay, according to School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) recent survey of school meal programs nationwide. When USDA regulations pertaining to whole grains in school meals took effect to add more menu planning flexibilities in July, some were worried about what this would mean for the whole grains in cafeterias across the country. However,  over 90 percent responding to the survey indicated that their school districts will exceed federal whole grain requirements.

Read more…

‘Build Your Own’ Options Offer More Scratch Made School Meal Choices

Following trends in popular restaurants and cafes, Hopewell Valley Regional School District  (NJ) has crafted an exciting and unique menu for students across the district’s six schools. Since scratch cooking was introduced into the food service department about five years ago, the menu selection has continued to grow each year, according to Food Service Director Denise Menza.

Grab N Go
Typical Grab n’ Go section featuring school lunch options in Hopewell Valley Regional School District (NJ).

The district adheres to the USDA guidelines while utilizing ingredients in creative ways, helping to entice students and staff with healthy and delicious meal offerings. Read more…