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Reinventing School Lunch

School lunch has changed quite a bit over the years. This year with the new legislation, more and more students are eating school hot lunch. Breakfast and lunch participation increased nearly 10% at South St. Paul Public Schools this year from last. This led the Nutrition Services team to get creative with the meals they are serving and have launched new ways for students and staff to offer feedback and suggestions.

New Recipes and New Ideas

The Nutrition Services team has begun offering more ethnic meal choices and has partnered with local businesses to make it possible. By incorporating dishes from various ethnic backgrounds into the school menu, students can explore diverse cultures through the foods they eat. Partnerships with locally owned small businesses has made it possible to offer these authentic food experiences. Embracing new food choices not only promotes cultural awareness but also encourages curiosity, tolerance, and acceptance among students.

Feedback and Suggestions

The Nutrition Services team has been looking for ways to improve their menu items and to hear directly from the students and staff who are eating the food daily. By hearing what the students want from their lunch experience it fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment and makes them more likely to eat the meals they are presented with. Nutrition Services gathers feedback in three main ways:

  • Through samples during regular lunch times
  • Offering proposed menu items to the Superintendent Student Advisory Council for feedback and suggested changes
  • Generic feedback and requests that allow students to voice their opinions on things small and large when it comes to their lunch experience

Over the years, school lunches have undergone a transformation, evolving from unexciting single choice meals to diverse culinary experiences. With a growing emphasis on nutrition, inclusivity, and cultural awareness, today's school lunch menus reflect a broader spectrum of flavors, ingredients, and dietary preferences than ever before.