Mangia! Mangia! It’s Pasta Month

2016-10-17

October is National Pasta Month—in fact, today, October 17, marks National Pasta Day. As an affordable, versatile and delicious kid favorite, pasta is a natural option for school meals—and a natural opportunity for fun cafeteria promotions. Trivia can be a simple way to engage students while they are on the serving line. Fun fact: Did you know that the one of the largest bowls of spaghetti was made in a swimming pool? It’s true—a California site of the Buca di Beppo restaurant chain achieved this feat in 2010 when they filled a 15-foot diameter pool with more than 13,786 pounds of pasta and 120 gallons of sauce! (This feat was trumped in Poland in 2015 with a bowl of 17,400 pounds of pasta that took 40 chefs more than 19 hours to prepare).

Nutrition experts tend to agree that pasta is a healthy, essential part of a well-balanced diet. It provides up to 25% of the daily-recommended fiber intake and 25% of the daily folic acid requirement. Not to mention, pasta is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, which means that it releases energy slowly, helping your body sustain energy all day long. This starch also happens to be cholesterol-free and very low in sodium to boot! Whole-grain varieties required for K-12 school meals continue to gain in acceptance.

Every October, pasta-lovers nationwide celebrate National Pasta Month, either by recreating recipes passed down through generations or by skirting tradition and crafting new, original dishes. However you choose to observe National Pasta Month, share your activities and post them on social media with the hashtags #NationalPastaDay and #NationalPastaMonth.

Look to The National Pasta Association for an assortment of recipes if you’re out of fresh cooking ideas for your students—or your family—or just want to try a well-known recipe with a twist. There are so many shapes, sizes and ways to make awesome pasta recipes that you could serve pasta for 365 days of the year and never make a dish the same way!

SNA’s 2016-17 Promotions Calendar is a great members-only resource for daily, weekly and monthly occasions that make for great cafeteria celebrations and activities. Compiled by the editors of School Nutrition, the calendar is a resource exclusive to SNA members. To see what’s on tap for the coming months, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/promocalendar.

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