Get Smart About Scratch Cooking

Smart Snacks items sold a la carte can be an easy, accessible entry point for implementing or expanding a scratch-prep meal program.

While scratch cooking is often recognized as the gold standard for producing nutritious meals served in schools, it’s an approach that’s not always practical—or even achievable—for many school nutrition operations. Inadequate equipment, storage and prep space are typically the first barriers, followed by staffing constraints, rising costs and insufficient culinary skills. Over time, with investments in infrastructure and training, some districts are able to move to offering more scratch-prepped meals, one school at a time.

But scratch cooking in schools doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation! You may be able to dip your proverbial toe in the waters by focusing initially on menu items available as a la carte offerings and meeting Smart Snacks nutrition standards. In the process of providing simple scratch-made snacks or treats, you and your team will gain experience with fresh-prep cooking, enjoy boosted revenues and transform perceptions, in particular, leveraging the “health halo” that accompanies reduced use of highly processed menu items...