Truck of the Month offers hungry students healthy “Walking Tacos”

Taco food trucks are well-known favorites in major U.S. cities and at special events, but what about during school lunchtime? The Truck of the Month (TOM) program has now given students in Central Florida the chance to enjoy fresh “Walking Tacos,” a healthier school version of the famous street tacos sold by vendors across the country.

TOM, which launched in October 2013, is a partnership between Tyson and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in Orlando, organized by OCPS Area Manager Jennifer Smith.

The TOM partnership was designed to increase student lunch participation and helps develop and introduce new menu items for the district’s schools. All items featured are part of the OCPS School Meals Program, so students pay as they typically would in the school’s cafeteria and receive a healthy, balanced meal that follows the same nutrition guidelines. The truck visits area schools and also gathers feedback from students on iPads about the new potential menu choices – Do they love it, can it be improved, should it be added to the regular cafeteria menu?

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Maitland Middle School, Orange County Public Schools (FL), serving up three choices of walking tacos. Photo from HealthyKidsToday.org.

The Walking Tacos have “been a hit,” said school officials. Students can choose from a variety of three chicken tacos, featuring fresh ingredients and served with corn chips, milk or 100% juice and a side of fruit or vegetables. The clever name was selected because of the bowl-style serving, which enables students to easily eat their tacos while they walk around with friends.

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A view inside the OCPS Truck of the Month, serving “Walking Tacos.”

Students tried delicious and healthy options, like the chicken carnitas, made with citrus seasoned pulled chicken, roasted pineapple and mozzarella; the bacon chicken cheeseburger, made with turkey bacon, diced tomatoes, pickles and shredded romaine lettuce; and the spicy Tex-Mex walking tacos, which feature buffalo seasoned chicken with a chipotle ranch sauce, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and jalapeños.  In the past, Truck of the Month menus have featured varieties of Asian bowls and salads, as well as wraps, Greek meatball gyros and sandwiches.

According to Smith, more than 3,500 meals have already been sold through the TOM this month, helping OCPS achieve its goal to increase daily lunch participation of high school students by between five and 12 percent.

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