By AMY SAUTER Guest columnist
This year’s theme for National Schools Lunch Week is School Lunch Snapshot, it will focus on showcasing how school lunch has changed and will also give us the opportunity to share the best, real images of today’s school lunch.
Our TCU Titan Food Service team serves 2,000 meals on average per day of which 1,700 are during lunch time. School lunches are healthier than ever, with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less fat and sodium.
National School Lunch Week allows us the opportunity to educate parents and students about all the benefits of our lunch program, and the appealing choices we offer. When we planned out our menu we looked at our previous school surveys and found the most requested menus items and added a new one to surprise them and awaken their taste buds. Menus themes this week will range from breakfast to burgers and end on a new recipe called cheesy flatbread.
Flatbread has been around for a while but is starting to make comeback in school nutrition by offering a different source for grains. We will be making it into a cheese bread/pizza with marinara sauce and offering a side salad. Earlier this month we introduced a chicken, bacon and ranch flatbread melt and were happy to hear many good comments from the students and smiling faces to see something new.
Our food service program is also celebrating National Farm to School Month (F2S) by exploring opportunities and connecting with local farmers and distributors to find fresh produce and meat which is now becoming the platform of our Farm to School (F2S) initiative. Farm to school enriches the connection our communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers. We have been getting weekly deliveries of farm fresh apples, bell peppers, cucumbers and sweet corn. All of which have been served on our fruit and vegetable stations for our students and staff to enjoy.
This month we will feature local pork burgers on our menus throughout the district. We have had much success in the past when we grilled out for our high school students, so what better way to feature our local connections than with a down home cook out. We will include fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade baked beans, coleslaw and of course the fresh grilled pork burger with condiments on the side. Guest Chef Chris Murray, from the Taher Chef’s Council, will visit the TCU Lonsdale K-4 School on Monday Oct. 19, 2015. Chef Chris will be on site working with our students in a culinary cooking lab and later grilling outside for lunch.
Amy Sauter is Tri-City United School District’s Taher food service director.