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Tips from Award Winners: Creating Healthier Menus

Last Published: 11/14/2014

Recognizing Excellence in Nutrition and Physical Activity

Make sure to coordinate in advance with suppliers to stock new menu items for HUSSC requirements. (Mike Herman, Food Service Director,(Central Elementary, TX)

Begin with a 50/50 romaine and iceberg mix for salad then gradually move toward a 70/30 blend. (ISD 196, MN)

Replace ¾ of the fat in baked goods with pureed beans and the kids don’t even notice! (Gooding Elementary, ID)

Promote new menu items by making announcements to both students and parents. (Gooding Elementary, ID)

Create recipes for beans and lentils and provide them to food managers. Allow schools to serve the unsold items as a free choice the day after they are menued.

Use nutrition education about specific beans to generate excitement and encourage students to try different things. Incorporate information about the culture in which the bean is a popular component, nutrition facts, and recipes. Include this as part of a monthly nutrition newsletter to all schools so they can put it in their school newsletters! (Barbara Griffiths, Food and Nutrition Supervisor, ISD 196, MN)

Introduce local lunch days, highlighting locally grown food. Discuss nutritional information about that product, provide recipes and serve it during lunch. It is an exciting way to introduce different foods while buying local. (ISD 196, MN)

Hold a taste test with a local bakery to allow students and parents to sample different types of breads and grains. This, along with a gradual movement toward incorporating whole grains into the menu, can increase student acceptance. (ISD 196, MN)

Use National School Lunch Week as a time to introduce new foods and menu items. When students ask, you can reply, “It's National School Lunch Week. Everyone in the Country is doing it!” (Sublette Elementary, KS)

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