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.

At the turn of the New Year, Livingston Parish Public Schools in Livingston (LA) started offering students further access to healthy school meals by adding breakfast service right in students’ classrooms. Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) programs bring healthy options directly to students as they arrive to school. Teachers often see a noticeable and positive difference in student behavior and performance due to the BIC program. 26230482_1759414574353713_7671522887284723326_n

As of January 3, students at the Indian Creek School District in Wintersville (OH) were introduced to a new program that provides hot meals after school. This program helps fill a need seen across the district, too many students are without access to a healthy, hot meal after the school day. Much attention is given to students and their needs during the school day, but students who participate in extra-curricular activities and sports also have nutrition needs,Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 5.17.05 PM.png according to the school’s nutrition director. This free program also ensures that regardless of income or economic status, all students have the same access to a healthy meal after the school dismissal bell rings.

Many districts, including Clark County School District in Las Vegas (NV), are adding new menu item options to their school menus, like this month’s new healthy turkey meatball marinara, served with potato wedges, baby carrots and milk.

Bath Schools (ME) are offering Vietnamese street food Banh Mi sandwiches in the New Year.

Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services in Texas is offering two new menu items in their high schools this month, chicken parmesan on whole-grain spaghetti noodles with Italian marinara sauce, and their new and improved turkey chili and mac and cheese, made with whole grains and healthy ingredients that meet school meal requirements.

Regional School Union One in Bath (ME) is offering students exciting and ethnic-inspired Banh Mi sandwiches, a marinated pork Vietnamese street food served on whole grain bread.

The New Year is a time to start new habits or try something new, why not in the cafeteria! Check local school websites and menus to see what’s new in 2018!

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