Students Collaborate with School Lunch Program to Make Fruits and Vegetables Appealing to Teenagers

As their final project for Foods and Nutrition, students researched the restrictions of the USDA school lunch regulations and set out to create a fruit or vegetable side dish that fit the restrictions while still appealing to teenagers.

The students started by touring the school cafeteria and meeting our AWESOME foodservice director. They learned about challenges of planning healthy meals for students including USDA regulations, student preference, and budget.

Then students worked in teams to create a fruit or vegetable side dish that their classmates would enjoy.

The fruit or vegetable dish had to fit USDA guidelines. They followed these preliminary guidelines to narrow their search. Students calculated nutrition facts for the recipe using the My Recipe tool on the USDA’s SuperTracker. They entered that in Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s product calculator.

Students prepare their healthy fruit and vegetable side dishes for voting

Students prepare their healthy fruit and vegetable side dishes for voting

Students doubled and tripled the recipes and invited the school to come, sample, and vote for their favorite.

First block vegetable selections

First block vegetable selections

Second block healthy fruit and vegetable selections

Second block healthy fruit and vegetable selections

Students serving and voting

Students serving and voting

The winning recipe for each class was prepared in quantity to feed the whole school!

Second block students peel and chop 180 apples

Second block students peel and chop 180 apples

First block’s winning recipe was a veggie tater-tot casserole. Instead of the traditional cream-of-mushroom soup, students made my favorite dairy-free cauliflower “cheese” sauce. The “tater tot” layer was made from shredded potatoes and pureed chickpeas.

usda-school-lunch-healthy-tater-tot-casseroleSecond block’s winning recipe was baked apples. It used maple syrup as a sweetener and had spices like cinnamon and cloves to add flavor instead of sugar.

usda-school-lunch-baked-applesThis has been a crazy week, but a great experience for my students.  I’m very proud of their hard work and look forward to more challenging projects with them in the future.

usda-school-lunch-baked-apples-tater-tots

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

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