Be Bold With Bowls

These one-dish meals are versatile solutions to meet K-12 challenges.

Over the last decade, bowls have come a long way from conveying soups, stews, chilis and salads. In the restaurant world, you’ll see bowl meal options on menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, promising intriguing taste combinations from a wide array of ingredients. It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, as chefs push the boundaries in mixing up flavors and textures—and as customers embrace both curated and customizable build-your-own options. According to trend-watching Datassential, bowls are surpassing pizza and tacos in menu mentions today and even 20% of fine-dining restaurants offer at least one bowl option. The research firm also finds that there are more than 10,000 foodservice concepts that feature the word “bowl” in their restaurant’s name!

While bowl meals are not entirely new to K-12 school foodservice, it’s only recently that we’re seeing them live up to their culinary potential and properly reflect wider industry trends. (When Chipotle announces that it sells more bowls than burritos, it’s time for kid-centric foodservice operations to take notice and take action!)

Even if K-12 is a little late to the big bowl bonanza, this is actually a perfect time to explore the possibilities. One reason is that healthy bowls are all the rage these days, and that, of course, is right on point with the mission of school nutrition. One of the opportunities here is to focus on popular flavor profiles, like Mediterranean or Latin, which reliably carry a healthy halo from such foundational ingredients as beans and rice without scaring off kids who might equate “healthy” with “no fun to eat.” ...

This page is for SNA members. Not a member? Join today! If you’re having trouble logging into your account, contact the SNA Service Center.