School food is now good foodPublished 10:15pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012
When you’re serving more than 9,000 lunches and 3,500 breakfasts every weekday, it’s good to have a plan.
For Suffolk Public Schools, the plan for school breakfasts and lunches is laid out many weeks in advance, giving parents, students and cafeteria staff plenty of time to plan.
Gone are the days of Mystery Meat Mondays and Tuna Surprise Tuesdays.
Today’s school lunches are carefully crafted to meet a culinary balancing act. They must meet hundreds of federal regulations, be affordable for the school district and still consist of food the students actually want to eat.
Even more challenging than providing the nutritious food, however, is getting students to prefer the more-nutritious choices above the less-nutritious offerings.
Federal regulations require school cafeterias to provide more whole-wheat items, fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce the amount of sodium in their meals.
The schools also are introducing more vegetables in a variety of forms. A variety of fresh salads are available daily, and “finger veggies” such as baby carrots, broccoli and celery with dip are on the menu. That’s in addition to cooked vegetables available as sides with every meal.
Schools also are working to incorporate more nutritious starches, like brown rice and sweet potatoes, and to make more items from scratch.
A final consideration that goes into school lunch is price of the food.
However, the free- and reduced-price meal program ensures that cost is never a hindrance to students receiving a meal. Applications are accepted for the program year-round.
Breakfast is served every weekday at Suffolk’s public schools. Choices available each day include assorted reduced-sugar Kellogg’s cereals, PopTarts, toast, donuts, yogurt, sausage biscuits, assorted fresh fruits, juices and milk. Rotating items are available as follows:
- Monday — Pancake and sausage stick
- Tuesday — Breakfast chicken biscuit
- Wednesday — Mini pancakes
- Thursday — Sausage, egg and cheese sandwich
- Friday — Tony’s breakfast pizza
The full price of breakfast is 85 cents, and reduced-price breakfast costs 30 cents.
Lunch menus for elementary middle and high schools within the Suffolk Public Schools system are available online each month from the school system at www.spsk12.net.
The menus for the first week of school follow. Options such as fresh fruit, milk, salads and other choices are offered daily at all grade levels.
Choose one: Uno’s cheese or pepperoni pizza; turkey and cheese on whole wheat bun
Choose up to two: Oven-baked fries; fresh side salad; chilled pineapple; fresh grapes
Choose one: Oven-fried chicken leg; barbecue pork rib sandwich
Choose up to two: Baked potato; broccoli spears; fresh celery sticks with dip; chilled peach cup; fresh orange wedges
Choose one: Pork chop with gravy and brown rice; stacked ham on a whole-wheat bun
Choose up to two: Green beans; whole kernel corn; baby carrots; chilled mixed fruit fresh apple
Choose one: Popcorn chicken with cornbread; beef or turkey hotdog on a bun
Choose up to two: Baked beans; steamed cabbage; fresh broccoli with dip; chilled apple sauce; fresh banana
Choose one: Uno’s cheese or pepperoni pizza; soft beef taco with brown rice; glazed ham steak
Choose up to two: Broccoli spears; whole kernel corn; fresh side salad; chilled peach cup; fresh orange wedges
Choose one: Chicken tenders with cornbread; eggroll; beef or turkey hotdog on a bun
Choose up to two: Seasoned potato sticks; steamed collards; baby carrots with dip; chilled diced pears; fresh grapes
Choose one: Cheeseburger on a bun; popcorn chicken with macaroni and cheese; turkey and cheese sandwich on a whole-wheat bun
Choose up to two: Hot and spicy fries; green beans; fresh celery sticks with dip; chilled apple sauce; fresh pear
Choose one: Pork chop with gravy; corn dog; cheesy flatbread with marinara sauce
Choose up to two: Mashed potatoes; steamed cabbage; fresh cabbage; fresh broccoli with dip; chilled pineapple; fresh banana
Choose one: Fresh grilled Philly steak sub on a hotdog bun; North Carolina pork barbecue on a hamburger bun
Choose up to two: Sweet potato fries; fresh side salad; chilled peaches; fresh grapes
Choose one: Baked spaghetti with breadstick; beef or turkey hotdog on a bun
Choose up to two: Crispy potato rounds; steamed broccoli; baked beans; fresh side salad; fruited gelatin; fresh pear
Choose one: Asian chicken
with fluffy white rice; bacon cheeseburger on a whole-wheat bun
Choose up to two: Seasoned potato sticks; green beans; baby carrots with dip; fresh apple
Choose one: Roasted chicken with whole-wheat roll; barbecue pork rib on a hamburger bun
Choose up to two: Scalloped potatoes; steamed cabbage; fresh broccoli with dip; chilled pineapple; tidbits; fresh banana
— Menus courtesy of Suffolk Public Schools