HOUSTON – July 27, 2017 – Students heading back to school this August will have new lunch and breakfast options when Spring ISD cafeterias debut nearly 20 new recipes, from homemade calabacitas to teriyaki pepper beef.
“It takes about a year to pull everything together for the new school year,” said Shelly Copeland, child nutrition director. “The only thing that slows down during the summer is the telephone.”
All of the recipes making their debut were developed to meet federal nutrition standards and to please the palates of students, who were offered multiple opportunities to taste test and sample items during the previous school year. Those items that made the cut will be on the menu this year.
One clear winner was the turkey chipotle melt, which will be the monthly sandwich feature in both the middle and high schools. The sandwich features thick cut turkey on whole-grain Texas toast, topped with bell peppers, onions and pepper jack cheese, topped with a house-made chipotle mayo.
“Students really liked it,” said Jennifer Fasano, the district’s dietitian. “They said it was very tasty and were impressed that the sauce was homemade.”
Much of the food that is prepared and served daily to students is scratch-made, reflecting an ongoing commitment by the district to source local ingredients. Earlier this year, the Child Nutrition department received the Best of the Bunch Award from the Texas Department of Agriculture for its work in this area. Fasano said another goal is to provide choices to students that encourage them to try new food and flavors.
Child Nutrition staff plan to install “Flavor Stations” in all the high schools that will feature a multitude of different spices and seasonings. The concept was well-received among students at Spring High School, who got to pilot the “Flavor Station” last year with offerings such as Creole seasoning, honey barbecue and sweet and spicy.
Fasano said all high schools should see the stations installed by mid-year. “Students had a lot of fun when they saw all the seasonings,” she said. By providing different ways for students to add flavor to their own meal, the district is able to use healthier lower-sodium ingredients during preparation, she noted.
At every school, the district will continue to offer “Tasty Tuesday’” and “Try it Thursday,” which give the chefs opportunities to introduce new items, as well as present new fruits and vegetables.
This year, Child Nutrition staff will also be working with PTOs and parent advisory committees to get feedback from parents on the meals being served.
Here’s a list of the 2017-18 new lunch-menu items:
- Turkey chipotle melt, taco salad bowl, green chili cheese tamales and chicken and cheese quesadillas (secondary schools)
- All-American combo (mini beef hotdog and slider), homemade calabacitas, teriyaki pepper beef, cheeseburger sliders (all schools)
- Asian carrot slaw, create your own spud and chorizo supreme pizza (high school)
- Parmesan broccoli (elementary)
- Garlic butter-crust pizza (all schools)
Here’s a list of the 2017-18 new breakfast-menu items available:
- Chicken and waffles (secondary schools)
- Breakfast tornado with egg, turkey sausage and Monterey jack cheese in a crispy tortilla (secondary schools)
- Pancake pups (mini turkey sausage links coated in whole-grain pancake batter)
- Egg sausage, potato-and-cheese breakfast burrito
- Ham, egg and cheese on a knot roll