When it comes to planning a menu, the last thing you ever want to do is let it get boring! You spend as much time thinking about innovation as you do about nutrition because you know that participation depends on how excited students feel about the menu. Hence why we’re dedicating this year’s annual Special Food Edition to all kinds of inspiration for preparing the best, tastiest, healthiest and most interesting options for the kids who come through your lunch lines every day.

This year’s Food Edition looks at culturally relevant recipes, the process of “school-ifying” recipes, using AI as a powerful tool and even taking advantage of Sea to School programs. You’ll find all this valuable insight in our March/April issue highlighting these topics:

  • Creating a Culturally Relevant Cafeteria: Offering global cuisines can not only expose children to dishes and flavors they’ve never experienced before but also help them learn about other cultures. Plus, it lets kids feel seen when their cultural dishes aren’t left off the menu. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach this if you’re going to demonstrate respect for culture while maintaining your cafeteria’s practical restrictions and nutritional standards.
  • We Want to Make THAT!: Menu inspiration is all around us—from morning talk shows to TikTok to niche cookbooks. The only problem is that some of these recipes, for all their appeal, don’t lend themselves perfectly to the cafeteria. But with a little bit of ingenuity, you can “school-ify” pretty much any recipe, preparing it at scale for all your students and meeting nutritional standards without compromising on taste.
  • Do Robots Know About Cafeteria Food?: AI has been a hot topic in the news everywhere you look, and this ubiquitous tool even has a place in your school cafeteria. It can help you come up with or develop recipes, research food trends, or summarize complex information (like USDA guidance) into simple terms. AI offers plenty of opportunity, but it still has its shortcomings, so it pays to understand how to use this new technology properly.
  • A Fine Kettle of Fish: Most of us are well aware of the nutritional benefits that fish and seafood offer; the only problem is getting reluctant young tastebuds to take the dive into these culinary waters. That’s where Sea to School initiatives are changing the tide, giving you more opportunities to make seafood exciting for your students and incorporate more seafood dishes on a daily basis.
  • Food Focus: Savoring the Sweet Potential of Strawberries: It’s hard for any of us to say no to strawberries, but as popular as these fruits are, many of us aren’t using them to their full potential. While they always work well with sweet treats and nutrition-dense desserts, they also lend themselves to savory salads, spicy salsas and so much more.

Click here to read SN‘s March/April 2024 issue to discover all of those articles, and more!

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