Freshly Prepared Menu Items

Evaluate menu for current and future freshly prepared menu offerings -  1 of 3 years


The School Food Service Department focuses on providing students with nutritious meals that are provided in a safe and effective manner.  Throughout the years we have been procuring value added food items which can be defined as “products that are prepared in bulk quantities by large manufacturers which meet or exceed the nutritional integrity of the USDA standards and provide consistency from school to school”.  We will continue to procure value added foods; however, a paradigm shift to start infusing more freshly prepared and speed scratch food products is taking place.

This year we began evaluating our menus to establish a base of items that are freshly prepared in our kitchens and establish action plans to test and infuse new items into our future menus.  To begin, we started offering freshly prepared subs and sandwiches.  The subs were offered daily at middle and high schools and the sandwiches were offered once a week at elementary schools.  We also started offering a variety of fresh cut fruit.  The fresh fruit variety rotated on a four week cycle between pineapple, cantaloupe, honey dew, and watermelon.  In addition, we enhanced our side salads which were offered daily to be a romaine lettuce base verses the traditional iceberg lettuce mix. 

New recipes were researched by the Nutrition Services Team and through collaborative work with the Department’s Chef, the following speed scratch recipes were created. 

    • Savory Blueberry Pizza
    • Blueberry Breakfast Bread
    • Vegetarian Lo Mein
    • Spanish Rice
    • Asian Green Beans
    • Hummus Platter

As part of the didactic experience for two of the dietetic interns with the Palm Beach County Health Department, we arranged for them to prepare and test these recipes at school sites.  Ahead of visiting the school site, the interns created age-appropriate surveys and shadowed Chef Tom for the day to become familiar with the ingredients and see how to prepare the recipes.  While at their respective school sites, they worked with the manager and the staff to conduct the taste testings.  School Results below:

Based on the student testing and feedback received, two recipes – Spanish Rice and Asian Green Beans were selected to be infused into the 2016-2017 school year menus.

School Food Service (SFS) took the opportunity to test a new Kale Apple Salad with 10 elementary schools that participated in the Harvest Day activities through a grant provided by the American Heart Association.  During regular meal service, the SFS team transformed the cafeteria creating a “farmer feel” and provided all students with samples of a Kale Apple Salad.  More than 7,500 students participated in these special events.  Upon completion of the event, teachers were provided a survey to obtain feedback from their kids.  Twenty-six percent of the students completed the survey and the results indicated the following:


Based on the feedback from the students during the Harvest Day event, the Kale Apple Salad will be tested at more schools during the next school year. 

“I served 400 fresh fruit servings yesterday and 358 of them were the fresh cut pineapple.  UNBELIEVABLE!  Kids just love them, they ask all week when are they coming in!!! – Deborah Whyte, SFS Manager Glades Central High School