School Lunches That Make The Grade (Plan Like A Chef Series)

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Worthy, the child nutrition director, loves that kids give blind ratings to menu items and that she can break out those results by school. And for many districts, videos mark the next frontier. Greenville County Schools , a 76,student district in South Carolina, plans to launch a cooking series this fall featuring more than a dozen of its most popular recipes, such as sweet Thai chili chicken, scaled down to make at home.

No matter how snazzy the pics, the key question for many districts is whether social media actually drives school lunch participation. And there are now ways for them to find out. Orange County has already launched meal preordering at two high schools through the Nutrislice app. This fall, the district plans to begin tracking the number of meals preordered through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To excite younger kids who might not be on social media yet, consider curriculum-based events.

Kindergarteners put on chef hats and aprons for Kitchen Career Tours. First-graders write a step-by-step how-to book on preparing Graham Banana Bites, a popular cafeteria side dish that many want to make at home. Third-graders do a math-intensive Fraction Fruitapalooza. Fourth-graders link food to the economy and social studies through a Virginia Grown Farm Festival.

And fifth-graders undertake a Caught You Being Healthy Challenge that involves snapping pictures to be publicly posted of staff and peers practicing healthy habits such as drinking water, washing their hands and eating veggies.

Lunch Schedule

Every event not only teaches something, but also ties into school food. Kitchen tours are a regular occurrence in Greenville County Schools, where even the youngest kids see where their food is made. And any schools that cultivate fruits and veggies show off with garden tours. Kids see anything from a food truck as trendy, Urban says. We try to do a lot of interesting things off that food truck—salmon curry, alligator gumbo, a low-country boil.

Orange County takes a similar trend-driven approach with its food truck, shown below, which has tested cutting-edge menu items such as Korean barbecue wraps and Caribbean jerk tacos since On a smaller scale, with golf carts ubiquitous in Florida, Orange County also got the idea to retrofit a few to serve hot and cold foods. This fall, Smith will put nine more in Orlando high schools, reaching convenient spots such as the senior parking lot, to make sales the program might otherwise miss.

Tuscaloosa has doubled breakfast participation in tests with its new mobile breakfast carts, which will launch throughout the district this fall. The carts will feature chicken biscuits, prepackaged items and even smoothies. Plenty of districts capitalize on National School Lunch and National School Breakfast weeks as a launch pad for promotional events.

Students submitted two-minute videos promoting school lunch or nutrition with cheers and rhymes. The district was amazed that a third of its schools participated, including many high schools.

Dining Hall

When Ronk delivered the check to the winning high school, she was blown away by the enthusiasm—and still gets goosebumps remembering it. Cafeteria staff were featured in the winning video, and they stepped out to be recognized at the awards presentation, too. We had the cafeteria staff walk out.

I think the staff had no idea how their students thought about them. I was really touched by it.

Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

Our ladies were, too. Partnerships with local restaurants, culinary competitions and even a food festival round out the special events in Greenville. Cafeteria Takeovers began at the district in as collaborations with some of the higher-end local restaurants where students aspire to eat.

Invite kids to share food truck experiences or plan their own future businesses. Mashed potatoes that are cloud fluff from Mount Fuji and fish sticks straight from the Mermaid Supermarket are so much more tempting than regular food. Peters deserves a mom medal for her patience with her seven children. And her picky eaters acknowledge her with a birthday cake made with lots of love plus pink lemonade, bread dough, and more. She experiences the joy of cooking for others when her whole family loves her delicious results.

Chef George Crum is known far and wide for his creative cuisine. When birds, bears, and more obstacles thwart his travel to the castle, Jack, truly clever, figures out a workaround. It boasts breakfast food with mustaches, a devious stalk of asparagus, and a rollicking rhyme structure.


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This engaging nonfiction title addresses a crucial but rarely-asked question. From sandwich bread to clementines, sections detail the step-by-step origins of common kid foods.

Do you ever think about chocolate chip cookies as beginning with cocoa beans? Food is best when enjoyed with friends and family. This title includes a smorgasbord of information about how cuisine, culture, and history intersect in various countries around the world.


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Maps depict which crops each country grows, and simple but appetizing recipes encourage kids to get cooking and tasting. This clever series achieves the sweet spot for new chapter-book readers and will be especially enjoyed by kids interested in cooking. This first title is readable, fast paced, and full of foodie details. Which characters will be able to stand the heat once the competition begins?

Middle grade readers will connect to the authentic family relationships and themes—along with the mouthwatering Mexican food described. But when your parents run a magical bakery and leave you in charge of the key to the magical Cookery Booke? Well, read this story and find out what happens. Twelve-year-old Rosemary has her work cut out for her in this light and fun novel.

PDF School Lunches That Make The Grade (Plan Like A Chef Series)

Keep young baking aficionados reading by serving up the other installments of this trilogy. When the Cake Family rolls into Halleluia, Mississippi, year-old Emma is determined not to get attached to the place. With plenty of culinary metaphors, humor, and charm, this middle grade novel explores what it means to find your home. David owes his mom some serious cash. Will prize money from a local pizza-eating competition help him pay her back?

Readers will be cheering for him as he navigates plenty of relatable adolescent trials and triumphs.