School lunches are an integral part to a student’s day—and a central talking point for many dietitians and foodservice directors. School meals matter, because children who lack proper nutrition have trouble focusing in their classes. According to medical authorities and nutrition researchers, kids who eat nutritious meals every day, and get moving when they have the opportunity, do better when it comes to academics.
Let’s take a closer look at the latest trends and developments in school lunches.
- We are seeing healthier options and more variation. In many schools across the United States, cafeterias are moving toward providing healthier, sustainable options for students while also supplying students’ preferences for on-the-go foods and hand-held foods. Smoothies are becoming more popular, as are build-your-own salad bars and made-to-order pizzas. At some schools, students and staff are even growing their own foods on-premise.
- School lunch programs are reducing salt and upping the spice. The amount of sodium allowed in school lunches has been reduced, so solutions for kicking up the flavor of school lunch without adding salt are necessary. One district in Wyoming is offering salt-free seasoning to children and seeing a huge spike in popularity of hot sauces.
- Schools are paying attention to presentation. A recent study with pre-teen children showed they preferred seven different items on their plates and six different colors. This study is one of many from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab that reveals the importance of presentation to children, including in school lunch lines. To get kids to eat nutritious foods, it needs to look and smell good!
- Breakfast is the new lunch. Most schools that serve lunch also serve breakfast. According to the Food Research & Action Center, 1 million children participated in the School Breakfast Program on a typical day in the 2015–2016 school year. 92.2% of schools serving lunch also served breakfast. With two meals per day happening in school, food service professionals have more opportunity than ever before to help children succeed with healthy, nutritious options.
SunButter understands how important school lunches are to kids and families, which is why we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure our product is not only healthy and free from the top 8 allergens, but also extremely tasty and appealing to children of all ages. It’s a perfect school-safe solution to offer for lunches and snacks where peanuts can’t be served. To learn more about how SunButter could enhance your school’s lunch program, visit http://sunbutter.com/our-promise/ today.