Next week is National School Lunch Week: Districts all across our area are working to make lunch healthier. The Wayne Central School District in Ontario Center is getting national attention for its approach.
Districts all across our area are working to make lunch healthier. The Wayne Central School District in Ontario Center is getting national attention for its approach.
So long bland spaghetti and meatballs and Sloppy Joes. The district has introduced "My Way Cafe" and it uses the build your own concept. Students can make their own plates. School officials say this leads to kids eating more veggies and wasting less food. Federal nutrition standards mandate the amount of whole grains, veggies and fruits in school lunch, so Wayne CSD put their own spin on it.
Students make custom mac and cheese bowls, burgers, tacos, noodle bowls and much more. The menu also features farm fresh food that's locally grown, supporting local farmers. Another cool idea, students actually help prep some of the food for the cafeteria.
About 60 percent of high school students in Wayne CSD are eating school lunch and students like senior, Sam Brasfield say the meals are tasty.
"I know the food comes from a good place, a good farm that is local," Brasfield said. "All the cooks here know how to prepare it in a good way and make it taste good."
Since the district started My Way Cafe, food service director for Wayne CSD, Nique Wilson says the number of kids eating fruits and veggies has doubled.
"I spent some time researching, visiting other schools and studying the trends," Wilson said. "We remodeled so that we were able to offer the My Way Cafe and what I saw is that if students, especially at a higher level are able to serve themselves they take their fruits and vegetables more."
Wilson also adds the food service department has stayed within their budget since they made the changes.
Gates Chili Central School District was also recognized nationally for their innovative approach to school lunch.
National School Lunch Week is October 9th-13th.