Bigger produce helpings on the menu for school foodservice

With new meal pattern, the amount of required fruits and vegetables has grown.

Feb. 16—One in three kids nationwide is considered overweight and La Crosse county in Wisconsin is no exception.

First lady Michelle Obama recently announced new standards for school meals across the nation, but some of the changes are already happening in the La Crosse School District.

Schools across the nation are supposed to gradually implement the first lady's new standards over the next five years. The La Crosse School district actually already started making some changes to its meal options this past September.

With the school year half over, school officials are now working to make sure next year's menu will be even better. For the 2012-2013 school-year, the new standards require students to get bigger serving portions of those fruits and vegetables, and all grains on the menu will only be whole grains.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
nuts

We decided through focus group feedback that our freshmen struggled with the allergy-friendly options or options for students with diabetes on campus. In response, we decided to have a dinner the first few weeks of classes to let some of these students know what was available and let them network with their peers and others with allergies or diabetes. NC State Dining chefs prepared menu items based on foods from cultures around the world. ... From delicious sliced sweet potatoes to savory Ikarian-style roasted chicken, students were able to sample global dishes free of allergens.

Ideas and Innovation
coffee cups

We started a monthly Coffee Hour with just the department director. The goal is to gather 
staff feedback about their jobs and answer individual questions. After the first event, 
several staff members emailed stating they just wanted to meet with the director without 
their supervisors. Now, the meetings offer an opportunity for more of a one-on-one conversation without the presence of the supervisor they 
deal with day in and day out.

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

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