Decisions, decisions on lunch options!

Even with a growling tummy, most people at a food court or restaurant require a little time to review the menu options. What are the specials? What comes on the side? Are there options to customize the order?

In a menu with at least 10 entrée options daily, not to mention 15-20 fruit or veggie side dishes, Marietta City Schools (GA) provides students a changing array of options to suit their tastes. With short school lunch periods, cafeteria staff is also looking at ways to help students make their choices quickly and efficiently.

In the high school, six serving lines are set up in themes to keep students moving through the cafeteria. The food court type options include a sub line, grill selections, destination or ethnic inspired choices as well as “go green” line of vegetarian options. Digital menu boards are used there and in the middle school cafeterias to help students see their options before they roll through the line.

Additionally, the school nutrition department provides students and parents access to menus via a free mobile app. Menu choices are listed with nutritional profile information, allergen details and meal customization options.  New meals rolling out include Greek, Jamaican and Thai dishes that students can learn more about before making their choices.

With “foodie” students in the district wanting options such as edamame, black bean burgers, hummus plates and fish tacos, the district balances creative offerings with some of the more traditional options made in healthy school versions. The pizza line is a naturally a big hit with students, who are now are familiar with and accepting of whole grain crusts and lower fat cheese when they order up a slice of Hawaiian, Spinach & Shroom or Southwest Pizza.

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