School lunch has come a long way from mystery meat, yet educating parents about how much meals have changed since their school days can be a challenge. FoodService Director spoke with Sodexo District Manager Mark Tucker to see how the eight districts he oversees have won over parents in an effort to boost participation.
1. Shoot behind-the-scenes videos
Tucker’s districts have begun posting behind-the-scenes videos on the school’s nutrition website so parents can get an inside look at the dining program without leaving their homes. “We started creating videos about all the fresh fruits and vegetables that go into our meals as well as what is considered a USDA-approved meal,” Tucker says. “It seems to be working well. It’s visual, parents can see the staff as well as what is being served on the lunch line.”
2. Invite parents to come in
If parents would like a firsthand look, they are free to come visit the cafeterias. “Whenever we get complaints or a question, we invite parents to come in to the school during lunchtime and we show them what it’s like through the kids’ eyes,” Tucker says.
4. Present at PTA meetings
Connecting with the Parent Teacher Association is another way to get in front of parents and spread the word about the dining program’s mission. Tucker’s staff will reach out to PTA leaders to see if they can present a video or a slideshow during an upcoming meeting.