Hall County Schools and Gainesville City Schools celebrated National School Lunch Week hoping to educate parents about healthy school choices and encourage them to take advantage of school lunches.
Hall County Schools, for example, featured new initiatives in their cafeterias, including the use of certified Georgia-grown meats and produce on their menus. Items like chicken, French toast sticks, broccoli, corn and carrots are sourced from local farms and served on student lunch trays daily.
Menus in Hall schools feature options like a smokey rib sandwich, Chinese takeout chicken, chicken and waffles, fish sandwich, Cuban sandwich and a Superfood Salad with kale, spinach, walnuts, quinoa and feta cheese.
Students have a choice of daily vegetable options, which include a wide range of produce – like steamed broccoli, “parm-roasted” cauliflower, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, baked sweet potato, refried beans, pinto beans and more.
“We are constantly holding taste test opportunities for students to try possible new menu options,” Cheryl Jones, president-elect of the Georgia School Nutrition Association and Hall County’s director of school nutrition, said in a press release. “We welcome their feedback and try to incorporate more of their food tastes into our cafeterias, while keeping our eye on their nutrition needs.”
President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week in 1962.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Education recently recognized Gainesville City Schools’ nutrition program with two “best practices” awards.
The first award recognized the school system’s creative and consistent utilization of United States Department of Agriculture foods by keeping meal costs low. The second award highlighted the district’s effective leadership development and training to maintain professional standards.
“I am very proud and honored to receive these awards,” Penny Fowler, Gainesville City Schools’ nutrition director, said in a press release. “It is a continuation of how hard the school nutrition program works to create best practices for our employees, making sure they are given the most up-to-date training to be efficient in all aspects of our program. Receiving these awards lets us know we are on the right track for reaching goals throughout the year.”