L.A. rethinks its healthy menu after participation drops

Dec. 19—Following a drop in participation, the newly created, healthier menus at the Los Angeles Unified School District will be altered.

In preparation for new meal patterns regulations under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the foodservice department at LAUSD created new menus for the 2011-2012 school year. The district removed entrées such as pizza and chicken nuggets and added more plant-based and ethnic items.

Before the new menus were implemented, David Binkle, deputy director of food service, told FSD he expected a 20% decrease in participation and a 43-cent per meal increase to produce the healthier menus.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the department originally saw around a 13% decrease in participation. Now, that rate has recovered a little to between a 5% and 6% decrease in participation.

Binkle told the paper that the department would revamp its menus, adding items like pizza, made with a whole-wheat crust, low-fat cheese and low-sodium crust, and hamburgers offered daily. The department also is removing some of the ethnic dishes, including beef jambalaya, vegetable curry and pad Thai.

Click here to read the entire Los Angeles Times article.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

FSD Resources