Students Celebrate Sweet Times in Their School Cafeterias

In honor of Valentine’s Day, school nutrition services staff were making cafeterias extra sweet for students. In addition to celebrating with heart-shaped décor at Provo City Schools Child Nutrition Department (UT) cafeterias, staff created a display of heart-shaped foods, from veggie and fruit trays to the cheese on their hamburgers! The dinner rolls and baby carrots formed hearts and fresh watermelon transformed into festive heart lollipops! Read more…

IN School Cafeteria Transforms Into Blizzard Beach Party

The food service professionals at New Castle Community School Corporation (Indiana) are serving up nutritious school meals with creativity and personality. Whether dressing up in crazy costumes or decorating the cafeteria, school nutrition professionals are providing an exciting environment to welcome students.

On January 26, students celebrated the Blizzard Beach Party to have some summer sun during the coldest month of the year! New Castle Director of Food Service Dee Orick said the winter bash luau idea started as a way to help get students through the dog days of winter. Schools menu items are often decorated to go along with the theme of the day. For the Blizzard Beach Party, cheese and turkey croissant sandwiches are turned into crabs and fruit cups get an island update, complete with tiny cocktail umbrellas. There are four separate lines of meals in the cafeteria, which never run the same options.

“Years ago, the high school had four lines with all the same items,” said Orick. “We’ve changed that to include much more fun and exciting menu items, like build-your-own sandwich, a Mexican line, home-style cooking lines and pizzas made-from-scratch. The high school kind of serves as a guinea pig to see what will be successful elsewhere in the district. They help give us new ideas for lines and help expose the younger children in the district to more exciting menu items, in some cases food they’ve never tried outside of school.”

The nutrition department is no stranger to events, according to Orick, who said they have a calendar filled with creative events, holidays and sports-related celebrations throughout the year, including the Apple Crunch and a big Halloween bash.

Orick, also vice president of the Indiana School Nutrition Association, said the food service staff go above and beyond when it comes to decorating the cafeterias and dressing up on special days.

New Castle Schools (IN) food service professionals dress in their best luau gear for the 2018 Blizzard Beach Party fun!

“My staff is very great at getting creative,” she said. “They often take trips after Halloween to the costume store and stock up on amazing outfits that they’ll use throughout the year. They really get into it and it makes the students excited about themed days as well.”

For Thanksgiving, her staff prepares a traditional holiday dinner with all the fixings, just in case one of their students won’t have that at home. Last year, members of the kitchen staff dressed as Native Americans and Pilgrims, again bringing smiles to the faces of the children they feed.

For School Lunch Hero Day, it’s not uncommon to see a food service employee swoop by in their cape, said Orick. They are a staff that truly likes to have fun, making healthy meals for the students of New Castle.


Massachusetts School Director Named National School Nutrition Hero

Serving healthy school meals to Billerica Public Schools (MA) students for more than 12 years, Director of School Nutrition April Laskey, SNS, also strives to meet her students’ needs beyond school doors. Due to her generous and heartfelt efforts across the district and in her community, the non-profit School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has recognized April as one of five 2018 national School Nutrition Heroes. Read more…

2018 National School Nutrition Heroes Announced

Each year, the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF)  recognizes deserving school nutrition professionals as national School Nutrition Heroes. Nominated by their peers, these amazing professionals have dedicated their lives to serving the needs of school children and go above and beyond for their communities. These are theFrom Oregon to Massachusetts, the 2018 School Nutrition Heroes hail from all over the United States. Tray Talk will feature each of these deserving five professionals over the next week, showcasing why they were chosen for this prestigious recognition.

The 2018 School Nutrition Heroes are: Paula Angelucci, Child Nutrition Director, Colonial School District, New Castle (DE); Anthony Terrell, Culinary Specialist, Shelby County Schools, Memphis (TN); April Laskey, SNS, Director of School Nutrition, Billerica Public Schools, Billerica (MA); Lynne Shore, Food Service Director, Willamina School District, Willamina (OR) and Patricia Urbanczyk, Kitchen Manager, School City of Hammond, Hammond (IN).

Read more…

2018 Brings New Fun to the Cafeteria

The New Year is traditionally a time for setting personal goals or starting healthier habits, and school nutrition professionals are enthusiastic to join the effort.  In January, many schools introduce new school meal recipes or menus, start programs to help more students access school meals or create special events in the cafeteria.  Changing varieties of fruits and vegetables, holding student taste tests, offering more healthy alternatives and allowing students to customize their school meals are all steps school nutrition professionals take to help students improve their lifelong habits. Read more…

Elves Visit School Cafeterias For Some Holiday Mischief

The popular holiday tradition featuring the mischievous pixie elf has made its way into the school cafeteria! Pixie elves, who work for Santa, have been around since the 1950s but the introduction of the infamous “Elf of the Shelf” in 2005, gave them new life. After gaining popularity among families, school food service professionals thought having their very own cafeteria elf would be a fun way to incorporate the children’s’ excitement of the holidays into the school meal experience. Read more…

Happy Turkey Day From School Cafeterias Nationwide

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family, friends and food! The joy of Thanksgiving is shared in school cafeterias across the country, where putting a heathy spin on traditional holiday fare and gathering with visiting family members and school friends welcomes all students. Elementary school students from Clarksville Community Schools (IN) to Cherokee County Schools (GA) to Milford Schools (OH) were all smiles at their Thanksgiving Day lunches, celebrating with their best buddies by their side! Read more…