Aug. 11, 2017
VARIETY IN THE LUNCHROOM — The new menu items at IPS schools have been a hit this school year. Above are the new Carrot Shakers, the Chicken and Cheddar Burrito Bowl, diced mango and a Mandarin orange. Lunch also comes with fresh salad options. Below, students at Super School 19 enjoy several of the new choices during lunch on the first day of school.
IPS has launched new menu options for the 2017-18 school year that are getting rave reviews across the board from students — not only is the food delicious, it’s also nutritious.
“We’ve received overwhelmingly positive responses from students and staff about the new menu items,” said Dena Bond, IPS Food Service director.
The new offerings include entrees and sides you don’t expect to see on a school lunch menu.
Entrees include Ravioli with Marinara and All-Beef Meatballs, Chicken and Cheddar Burrito Bowl, Honey-Siracha Boneless Wings, Chicken Teriyaki Bowls and Power Packs with Ranch Cheese Curds, SunButter, Heartzels (pretzels) and Cinnamon Crisps.
New side items include Carrot Shakers with either chile-lime, ranch or cinnamon-sugar seasoning packets and tri-color carrots, Taco Fiesta Beans, and mango, kiwi and grapes. Each school also has a vegetable bar, complete with fresh, locally grown veggies.
The fare was chosen based on research by members of the Food Service Department.
“We researched restaurant and grocery store trends and found products that fit within our nutritional parameters,” said Bond. “We wanted fun, healthy and kid-friendly foods. We also have a wide variety of ages to serve, particularly in our buildings that are K-8. Our goal was to offer increased variety and choices so that all students could build a tray full of foods they would enjoy.”
There’s no doubt students are enjoying the variety and taste of the food. According to Bond, her department has heard from staff at different schools throughout the district that students are enjoying the food and are eating so much better this year that they’ve already seen a decrease in food waste.
“Staff working lunch duty at Theodore Potter School 74, George Washington Carver School 87, Phalen Leadership Academy at George Fisher School 93 and Daniel Webster School 46 have had positive comments,” said Bond.
Michael T. Ackers, assistant principal at Daniel Webster, said students love all of the new items. They also appreciate having more options to choose from at lunch.
“Cheese curds, and honey-roasted sunflower seeds seem to be hits, as do the new chicken sandwich and ravioli with meatballs,” said Akers.
Also popular according to Bond are the Power Packs, which contain two protein items and two grain items. There is a different one each day of the week. The Power Packs provide at least one (sometimes two) non-meat protein options and are customizable for students.
A lot of hard works goes into choosing food options for IPS students for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. And Bond and her team are overjoyed that the new lunch items are going over well with students.
“Our job is to serve students nutritious foods that they will eat,” said Bond. “We are thrilled that the menu changes we have made are being so well-received. Our menu was in need of change and the current generation of kid expects menus that are more customizable and sophisticated, so we wanted to bring our menus up to the level of their expectations.”
How do the updated menu items fare with adults? Click here to watch FOX59 reporter Kyle Inskeep taste test several items.