Lunchtime May Look Different, But School Meals Are A Student’s Best Friend

Lansing Central School District lunch with rotini and homemade marinara sauce.

School lunch and the way it’s served during National School Lunch Week may look little different in 2020, but schools are still working hard to introduce new menus items and get kids excited about eating health meals at school. Students in Lansing Central School District (NY) know first-hand how school nutrition professionals have risen to overcome challenges to adapt meal service to various in-person and remote learning methods during the pandemic.

A curbside pick up of school meals includes among other things the lunch components of a BBQ pulled pork quesadilla, chicken parmesan with rotini and homemade marinara and garden salad.

According to Katie Swearingen, the food service director for Lansing Central Schools, they have introduced buffalo macaroni and cheese, chicken parmesan with rotini and homemade marinara, and grilled chicken sandwiches for lunch. They are offering breakfast and lunch in the classroom for elementary students, socially distanced cafeteria service for middle and high school students and grab and go meals for remote learners.

All food is prepped and served in closed containers before being given to a student. Silverware is in sealed packaging and no key pads are being used at this time. These accommodations can be challenging for food service staff, but Swearingen said her department has stepped in some major ways.

“We have worked so hard together this year to perfect our multiple systems,” she said. “It has been quite a process to prep the food all week for our ship-out, while also feeding kids in school. We are very passionate about feeding these kids and providing a menu with familiar meals that they love is another big goal. We just have a mindset of lets get better and better every week. I am so so impressed with the way my staff has come together and adapted to all of these changes.”

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