Grocery menus have been called the "secret sauce" to COVID-19 meal service. If you’ve yet to put them to use for your COVID-19 distance-learning school meals, you may not understand what they are or why you should consider them.
Initially, 5-day or 7-day meal kits for distance learners included 5 or 7 defined breakfasts and an equal number of individual lunches. You’d order the ingredients for each individual meal, assemble each of those meals and bundle them with the rest of the meals for the week.
Grocery menus allow you to provide families bulk ingredients – a pound of hamburger, spaghetti or pasta, pasta sauce, fruit, veggies and a half gallon of milk – from which they can batch cook one meal for the 5 days of lunches. They can also ad lib using the ingredients you provide. Either way, you meet the requirements of the Summer Food Service Program and earn reimbursement dollars.
These menus can help you save packing time, simplify procurement, incorporate commodity foods and minimize waste vs. single-serve, prepackaged foods. And, they can be used whenever your students are away from school for multiple days (distance learning, hybrid learning, spring break, summer, etc.).
NutriStudents K-12 is currently offering any foodservice program in the country 5 free weeks of grocery menus for downloading.
The downloads for the 5 menus include:
You’ll want to give your parents a heads up before you transition to grocery menus. They may see these menus as more work, so highlight the advantages:
Grocery menus allow the district/school to provide options that are healthier than prepackaged, single-serve items, such as string cheese, chips and nut butter sandwiches.
These menus result in less waste compared to many individually wrapped items.
The recipes are simple enough that teenage kids could cook for themselves, or parents can cook with their children.
The menus allow the school/district to provide families with a fresh variety of meal options not previously possible.
The meals help save the school/district’s busy foodservice team time.
We've added an issue of Cafeteria Connection to help you educate parents on grocery menus. If you’re not already a Cafeteria Connection subscriber, subscribe today and get instant access.
If you have questions, contact us via chat or email: customerservice@NutriStudentsK-12.com.