Children selecting fresh produce in a cafeteria line.

Not Your Father's School Lunch


As students prepare to return to the classroom, school food service departments are gearing up to entice them to eat healthy with tasty offerings.

Pamela Gallagher, coordinator of School Nutrition Services in the North Penn School District, said, “We’ll continue to work at creating exciting, appetizing meals for kids that are also healthy and nourishing.”

The cafeterias will serve 1 percent milk and fat-free flavored milk, which is required by the federal Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.

“One of the things we’re going to do is bring back by popular demand a lot of the items that were the kids’ favorites,” Gallagher said.  This includes the all-white meat tempura chicken nuggets with low-fat whole-grain breading.

"The high school kids are going to come back to an exciting new dining room called concept lines," Gallagher said. "We will set up the serving lines in a way the students can chose from three different concepts: Big Daddy pizza, hot and cold sandwiches or a traditional school lunch. These items will be available every day."

Also, salads and fresh fruit will also be on the menu daily, she said.

And North Wales Elementary will be enrolled in the Wise Snac program through the North Penn Community Health Foundation. The school could then get an award through promoting students' healthier food choices.

The price of traditional school lunches will remain the same and the a la carte price list is posted on the NPSD website.

The Souderton Area School District is also emphasizing healthy eating in its food offerings, said Jane Natale, supervisor of food services.

"We've been working on healthy menus here for a long time," she said. "We're trying to get away from breaded products. We're trying some new ideas."

This includes unbreaded but seasoned chicken tenders and chicken breasts. They are also using less salt.

Also, the district is involved in the Farm to School program and cafeterias will stock fresh apples, pears, peaches and apple cider from Frecon Farms in Boyertown and lettuce from Ray Gehman's Greenhouse in Franconia.

"We're trying to incorporate some different fall vegetables," she said. These will include red beets, spinach, cabbage and squash.

The district is also involved in the Wise Snac program, she said.

At Souderton Area High School there will be "a lot more selection," she said. "The kids will come in and pick all kinds of things." There will be a deli bar where students can make their own sandwiches with different meats, salads, rolls, wraps and whole-grain breads.

"That seems to be a big hit," said Natale. High school students will have a salad bar, Italian entrees, hot off the grill items, homemade soups, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

"The middle schools have a few more choices than the elementaries," she said. "There again we have the salad bar. In the elementary schools there are always fresh vegetables and fruits."

Lunch prices for the 2011-12 school year are $2.30 for elementary schools, $2.55 for the middle schools, and $2.90 at the high school. Breakfast at all schools will be $1.10.

From Stein, Linda. (2011, Aug. 29). Not your father's school lunch. The Reporter. Retrieved from: