Thankful for Students, Schools Provide Holiday Lunch Celebrations

Ask anyone about their favorite school meal as a child and the Thanksgiving turkey lunch usually comes to mind. The love of the turkey day meal remains, but much has changed about what it looks like today. Schools have created new recipes and ways to incorporate turkey in their meals, with a variety of trays, bowls, dishes or curbside pickup containers needed to deliver holiday traditions. Through soups, pot pies, sandwiches, whether carved, sliced, roasted, cubed or diced, turkey is still the star of the show.

Thanksgiving school meal sides include everything from whole grain rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potato mash, roasted potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, salad, sweat peas and yams, to seasoned corn, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, broccoli and fresh fruit.

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Lunch Participation Jumps When Students Learn About Local Ingredients

One school district increased school meal participation by educating their students about the local, healthy options they were already sourcing from local Kentucky Farmers. IMG-7308Fayette County Public School’s (FCPS) Nutrition Department (KY) worked closely with their Farm to School program to coordinate the Fayette Farm to School Challenge, a weeklong program filled with taste tests, cafeteria guests and educational programs to help increase student participation.

The Fayette Farm to School program worked to promote the educational aspect to families, students and staff, while the FCPS School Nutrition Department procured and prepared local menu items for the week. They featured recipes including cheesy chicken étouffée, an original created by District Chef Todd Gorrell, containing Kentucky sweet potatoes and butternut squash. The week also showcased how kid-favorites, like hot dogs and Sloppy Joe’s, could be made healthier, using locally-sourced produce and local farm-raised meats. Read more…

Maine Students Enjoy School Meals Made With Homemade Touch

Helping students in the school cafeteria feel like they’re eating mom’s homemade meals is an ongoing effort that York Schools Nutrition Department staff in Maine is very proud of. School cooks, menu planners and head chefs have worked tirelessly to provide menu options  – from scratch-made chicken pot pies to vegetarian sushi – that are made in-house with as many local ingredients as possible. Read more…

Survey Prompts Major Updates to Nutrition Program

Wayzata Public Schools (MN) nutrition professionals spent the summer of 2018 overhauling the nutrition program in the district’s Culinary Express. They created new school menus, with delicious scratch-made recipes, including homemade chicken noodle and chicken wild rice soup, vegetable lo mein, spicy black beaned burgers, baked ziti and pork carnitas burrito bowls. 

While revamping the Culinary Express website, school nutrition staff worked with a local food hub and marketing company to help provide more opportunities for nutrition education, including new graphics, cafeteria posters, food mascots, etc. The innovative changes to their school nutrition program were prompted by survey feedback from parents and staff.

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School Lunch Pros Take Flavor to the Next Level

Atlanta (GA) was the host city of this year’s School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference. It was very exciting to hear about so many great things going on in cafeterias in the state and across the country.

During an educational session titled “Shake It Up School Nutrition,” GA Department of Education guest speakers Sarah Combs and Paige Holland spoke about the challenges that face school nutrition professionals when it comes to providing healthier foods that still appeal to children. Read more…