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.”

For NSLW, traditional daily special entrees will include mozzarella crunchers, make your own nachos, cheeseburger sliders, spaghetti with meatballs and garlic toast and mandarin chicken with brown rice. For the 2018-19 school year, the district chef and central kitchen team decided to mainstream plant-based options into the daily menus, featuring favorites like Italian rotini pasta, taco salad and Loco Burrito. NSLW plant-based protein daily entrees will include vegan hummus wraps, vegan Asian quinoa salad, vegan veggie rice bowls, vegan Italian pasta and their famous vegan Loco Burrito. They are also currently sourcing tempeh and other plant-based proteins for options in school lunch recipes.img_20191001_114631-1.jpg

For the first time this year, the department is holding a district-wide healthy recipe contest for their elementary students. The winner of the contest will receive a new bike and their winning recipe will be re-created and sampled to students, featured as part of the menu at the winner’s school website. The department won’t let any of those fantastic and creative ideas go to waste, however, they plan to create a recipe e-book featuring all of the students’ healthy recipe ideas, which will be shared for all to see on their district website.

An Instagram contest for middle and high school students will also run during NSLW. Students can check out the CapoFood Instagram account on October 14, “Like” the designated post, follow CapoFood and/or tag a friend in the comments on the designated post to enter. One grand prize student winner will receive a pair of wireless Beats headphones, again fitting with this year’s “School Lunch: What’s On Your Playlist?” theme.

The Director of Food and Nutrition Services Kristin Hilleman and Illingworth have encouraged the district’s principals to share pictures of school meals with #NSLW2019. Everyone in the district, even the PTA, have been notified of the exciting events and plans for this year’s NSLW.

President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. During this annual weeklong celebration, SNA members and students celebrate in their cafeterias, schools and districts with special menus, events, student activities and more.

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Dana Hills High School offer a wide range of options for students during lunch, including a grab and go harvest chicken salad, turkey burgers and whole grain pizza.



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