The Lunch Box: Next Generation

Welcome back to The Lunch Box

  • Chef Ann News
  • October 08, 2014
  • Comments

You may have noticed that we’ve made a few changes…OK we’ve made many BIG changes. It is with great excitement that we move into the future with a new website, a new look, and most importantly, new ways to support schools that are doing the hard work of improving the food they serve kids. In addition to what's new, here's what hasn’t changed:

  1. Our Mission: We are committed to providing tools to help schools serve children healthy and delicious scratch-cooked meals made with fresh, whole food.
  2. Our Voice:  Chef Ann didn’t get the nickname “The Renegade Lunch Lady” for being quiet and waiting for change to happen. We continue to speak up for the children of our nation who deserve daily access to healthy food, especially at school.
  3. Established Resources:  While we’ve added many new tools, templates, and guides, we have kept our most used and useful pioneering resources, all with new looks and links.
  • Recipes: Our most visited section isn’t going anywhere, but we have made it even more user friendly by providing live nutritional analysis and USDA verification of the menu cycles. Through a partnership with Horizon/OneSource, a popular k-12 food service software company, we now offer an all-new database of tried and true recipes. We’re also thrilled to announce that the Whole Kids Foundation sponsored 50 new, kid-tested recipes to help meet the demands of both the USDA guidelines and students’ appetites!

Nona Evans, Executive Director or the Whole Kids Foundation, says: “if you give kids good food choices, they will make good food choices.  The Lunch Box makes offering kid-tasted, nutritionally analyzed, kitchen-tested choices easier for school districts nation-wide.”

Some of our new offerings make the job even easier for school food service professionals.

  • Salad Bars: Salad bars are a great way to easily increase fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as to meet the new weekly meal pattern requirements, especially for dark green, red, and orange vegetables; starchy and other vegetables; and legumes. The salad bar section provides resources that guide schools from procurement to marketing.
  • Breakfast: By offering universal breakfast after the bell to all students, we can reduce the severe negative impact of hunger on school-age children across the country. Here you will find information on everything from case studies to best practices for implementing Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), Grab ’n Go, Breakfast Break, and other alternative breakfast solutions.
  • Procurement Support: No farms, no food. Once we have a vision for our program and the menu and recipes that reflect the transition to scratch cooked recipes, the task of procurement is large - how do we source our ingredients and fulfill the mission of serving fresh, whole foods while working within the food budget available to school food programs? Set the table, and check out resources ranging from bulk milk to antibiotic- and hormone-free procurement.
  • Management: Food service directors have a lot on their plate. To innovate, a food service department must be organized, efficient, and stable—capable of thinking outside the box while keeping their highly regulated child nutrition programs self-sustaining. This section is revamped and equipped with transformative tools for 21st century school food.
  • Marketing and Education: Making delicious meals with healthy food is one thing, getting students to eat them is another. A recent study has shown that students welcome healthier food, but often need encouragement to try that first taste. Check out our Lunchroom Education section for lunchroom event ideas, including Rainbow Days  and Art Contests.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but school food change is happening. Chef Ann’s recent presentation from TEDx Front Range gives a clear picture of where school lunch stands today. If you are ready to take your involvement to the next level, consider making a donation and becoming a CAF member, then visit our Get Involved page to take further steps. Together, we can make real, long-lasting, positive change, one lunchroom at a time.

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