The recent pandemic has greatly affected the logistics and supply chain industry. Despite the release of a vaccine and the lifting of restrictions, the effects of the pandemic are still fresh. The supply chain issues have made their way into schools affecting the various feeding programs. Even with the supply chain issues witnessed across the country, nutrition administration in schools and institutions are working round the clock to provide children with nutritious meal options. In this article, we will look at ways schools and institutions can provide nutritious meals to students, regardless of the supply chain slowdown.
Facing Supply Chain Issues
The first step to providing students with nutritious meals is finding ways to solve the supply chain issues. As a temporary solution, schools have opted to source supplies from nearby retail stores to cover shortages arising from delays from distributors. However, this comes at an extra cost, with most schools having to dig deep to ensure the school nutrition is maintained. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program has launched a reimbursement program to schools striving to meet their school's meal demands.
Despite the hiccups witnessed in the transport sector, three of the largest logistics companies FedEx, UPS, and Walmart have promised to boost efforts to ensure they meet deliveries. In recent months, various school districts have had to deal with an inconsistent and limited supply of food and other supplies. Through the reimbursement programs, schools can effectively handle supply chain issues and maintain their feeding programs.
Make Room for Meatless Meals
When developing a meal plan for students in the new normal, we need to focus more on healthier food options. Schools need to think of introducing meatless meals when feeding children. This way, they can help nurture healthy eating habits among children and reduce the risks of chronic diseases. One of the most common trends in school systems today is Meatless Monday. More people are becoming aware of the need for healthier meals, hence the search for plant-based menu items.
Finding healthier food options should be the top priority for foodservice directors, staff, parents, and even students. Before rolling out a new meal plan, it's best to research and even benchmark what other schools are doing. This way, you can effectively determine the best way to integrate a meatless meal into your school's feeding program.
Creative Meal Planning to Reduce Waste
To minimize food waste, some institutions have opted to reduce, recycle and recover the food wasted. Even with the need to reduce food wastage, schools still need to focus on meeting the school nutrition needs when feeding children. Some of the creative ways to go about this include
1. Offer vs. Serve - instead of serving students everything, giving them an option to choose what they want can help promote healthy eating habits and reduce waste. This method can also help increase student fruit and vegetable intake.
2. Salad Bars - introducing a salad bar is a fun way of letting children choose what they want to eat while reducing waste. Salad bars provide students with a wide range of options to choose from, meaning they are likely to eat what they pick.
3. Share tables - these are stations where children can return beverages or whole food items they don't want to eat. These tables allow children to take an extra helping of a food item without incurring extra charges.
Keeping Parent and Kids Happy with Tasty Meals
Providing nutritious meals to children doesn't mean sacrificing taste. Different children enjoy different meals, others may enjoy veggies and fruits, while others prefer bread, pasta, or rice. When designing the meal plan for the children, it's best to take into account a meal plan that sits well with both parents and children without affecting their required daily nutrient intake. For this, you will need to survey to know what the children enjoy and what their parents can allow.