When students at more than 4,000 Sodexo-served K-12 schools nationwide line up for lunch on the first day back, they'll notice interesting changes, including kid-tested and healthy flavors from the Mediterranean to Vietnam and healthier versions of regional favorites – all part of Sodexo's industry-leading commitment to increase whole grains and reduce fat, salt and sugar in its school nutrition programs.
"Sodexo sees school nutrition and focusing on student well-being as a big part of the solution when it comes to fighting childhood obesity," said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education – Schools, in a prepared statement. "Sodexo offers students unique cafeteria choices like favorite local dishes, or meals from across the globe and tasty entree salads while also providing balanced nutrition and correct portions."
Here are some of the innovative school menu items students at Sodexo-served schools will find this year.
- Chicken Pho with Garnishes;
- Cuban Baked Sweet Potato Fries;
- Fantastic Stuffed Mushrooms;
- Grilled Chicken Greek Salad;
- Maple Granola Crusted Sweet Potatoes;
- Mediterranean Lentil Soup;
- Moroccan Apricot Chicken;
- Oat & Spice Whole Grain Breakfast Squares;
- Spinach and Mushroom Calzone;
- Tropical Vegetable Tofu.
Sodexo's team of culinary experts, including chefs at school districts nationwide, developed recipes that entice students and meet USDA's National School Lunch Program guidelines. The company's focus on global cuisine allows students to expand their palates by experiencing new flavors, while its regional favorites are familiar and comforting.
Sodexo developed new menu items with the support of its vendors throughout the spring and summer, including a first-ever research and development summit in California that brought together chefs from more than 20 national food manufacturers to work with Sodexo chefs in developing a diverse set of healthy, delicious and nutritious meals specifically for school students. Sodexo also challenged suppliers to make the foods kids like to eat healthier, a move that improves school nutrition for students nationwide, not just at Sodexo-served schools.
"Sodexo has an extensive network of chefs, including more than 525 in Education, working hard to ensure that students have interesting and healthy meals each day at school," said Chef Lisa Feldman, director of culinary services for Sodexo Education - Schools. "School meals have come a long way since I was a student, and I encourage parents to check out the amazing selection of nutritious and delicious meals we offer at Sodexo-run cafeterias daily."
Sodexo is committed to take measurable sustainable actions that ensure a brighter future in the areas of health and wellness, environmental stewardship and community development. Sodexo focuses on nutrition, achievement, environment, community and activity to promote student well-being and create enriched learning environments.