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Starting April 1st, there will be a new, simpler menu in schools. All breakfasts and lunches will continue to be free for all student. Popular items will be offered more frequently. There will be lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We hope that you will give the meals a try!

Highlights of our streamlined menu:

Breakfast: Two choices offered daily, including hot options served twice a week.

  • Cold choices include cereals, muffins, or yogurt, always offered with fresh fruit and 100% juice, and non-fat or 1% milk.
  • Cereals continue to be whole grain and limited in sugar. Cereals that are perceived as sugary, although available to school districts in a low sugar version, will not be offered.

Lunch: We offer student favorites more often in our new-three week menu cycle.

  • Three choices will be offered daily with both hot and cold entrée options.
  • Previously, schools with grades K-8 had three meal choices and high schools had four entrée choices.
  • Cold meal options include entrée salads, subs and sandwiches. Additionally, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are available.
  • Fruit offerings are unchanged, with fresh fruit and 100% juice, daily.
    Milk offerings are unchanged and include nonfat and low-fat options.

Check out the April Menus at: https://schoollunchboston.wordpress.com/menu/ and tell us what you think of the new menu by emailing us at SchoolFoodBoston[at]bostonpublicschools.org.

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MeatlessMondaysDid you know, Boston Public Schools is featuring a meatless entree option on the menu every Monday in our cafeteria schools this year!   Some of the meatless options include a Black Bean Burrito Bowl, Macaroni and Cheese or the Entree Salad with Chickpeas.

Deputy Director of the Boston Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Services Deborah Ventricelli says: “Offering students nutritious meals as part of the Meatless Monday programs allows us to meet the diverse needs of the families in our district while getting the week off to a healthy start. Now, every Monday, our students know they can look forward to a high-quality meatless option in addition to the choices they already have.”

BPS has joined the Meatless Monday movement after working with the Humane Society of the United States and hearing from more than a thousand students, parents, teachers and Boston members of The Humane League encouraging the district to take part.

The Humane Society of the United States advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.

Want to know what’s on the menu for Meatless Monday next week? Check out our Menu Page.

See you in the lunch line next Monday!

Yes, you read it correctly, FREE breakfast and lunch for ALL students this year!

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Through the Community Eligibility Option, Boston Public Schools in partnership with the MA Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) will waive all meal fees for all Boston Public School students, regardless of family income status.  This means no more meal applications.  No more forgetting your lunch money.  ALL students in Boston Public Schools will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast and lunch for free every day at their school.

For more information check out the press release on the Boston Public Schools website or the article in today’s Boston Globe.

Also check out the lunch menu and hope to see YOU in the lunch line this year!

 

Photo by ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF

This summer, Boston Public School has taken a new approach to summer meals.  In addition to the summer meals offered at designated summer feeding sites, Boston Pubic Schools in partnership with Preferred Meals has taken this show on the road with a “food truck”.  Offering free breakfast and lunch to all youth under the age of 19, this truck is making stops around town at locations such as Franklin Park Zoo, Christian Science Center, and Carson Beach.  Check out the article from Saturday’s Boston Globe about Boston’s innovative approach to reach more students with healthy free meals during the summer time.

Look out for the Summer Meals Food Truck and join us for breakfast or lunch (or both!)!

 

 

Photo by ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF.

MPalmisanoThis year, our very own Margaret Palmisano, Cafeteria Manager at the Rogers Middle School, was honored with the title Employee of the Month* at the Rogers.  Margaret has exemplified exceptional customer service for both students in the cafeteria and for parents who call with concerns regarding school food.  She has also supported the school’s recycling efforts, and is always a role model of kindness and respect in her cafeteria.

Margaret has worked with Food and Nutrition Services for 11 years, and became a manager at the Rogers seven years ago.  She oversees 6 cafeteria attendants, and together they serve around 500 students each day!  Margaret’s favorite school lunch is chicken teriyaki over rice.  (yumm!)

We asked Margaret, “What do you love most about the work that you are doing?” and she told us,

“I truly love being a part of the daily lives of the students here at the Rogers, now that I have been here for seven years  I have seen two sets of 6th graders grow into young ladies and gentlemen!! I hope that they take away some great memories from their days in my cafeteria as they enter the next phase of their lives.”

And just in case you are wondering what Margaret likes to do when she isn’t working hard at the Rogers cafeteria…Margaret is a “Dance Mom” and loves being involved with her daughters at their dance school where she makes a lot of costume alterations for the dance teams.  She is also President of the Board of Directors for the Melrose Youth Ballet where she runs a full length professional production of the Nutcracker each year!

Dance Mom and an All-Star Cafeteria Manager, we are proud to have Margaret as a part of our Food and Nutrition Services team here at Boston Public Schools!

Margaret Palmisano and her team at the Rogers Middle School Cafeteria.

Margaret Palmisano and her team at the Rogers Middle School Cafeteria.

 

*Margaret Palmisano was Employee of the Month at Rogers Middle School in February 2013. However, due to Margaret’s humble nature, we didn’t find out till the end of May! 

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This past Sunday’s Boston Globe Magazine featured an article about a group of folks who are coming together to discuss how to fix the food children eat at school.  This group, known as the Let’s Talk About Food, is a diverse group of practitioners from various organizations such as Project Bread, Cooking Matters, and the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as chefs and pediatritians and  folks from school food service, management consulting, marketing, media and business sectors.

The article highlights BPS Food and Nutrition Services Director Michael Peck and the success of Boston Public Schools universal-free breakfast program as an example of how school food can greatly impact what kids are eating each day.

Together this group has come up with a few ideas about how they might be able to fix school food:

“One thought is to build a regional commissary for school food — a stand-alone facility where workers would produce fresh food daily for schools in Greater Boston. Because many of our local school kitchens have only a heat-and-serve capacity, we could use the commissary to replace (or augment) the processed and frozen food we in many cases buy from out-of-state vendors.

“Our second strategy focuses on the school food service workers. They’re nearly as important to our children as the teachers in their classrooms, but some people don’t treat them that way. And because many of the dedicated folks who work at schools come to the job with little culinary training, we are thinking through the feasibility of an on- or off-site culinary program. A commissary could do double duty as a professional development center, or school districts could partner with local culinary schools.”

This innovative group aims to make a difference in what kids are eating every day, and they are starting with an idea and seeing where it goes!

To view the full article written by Louisa Kasdon and Jody Adams, check out the Boston Globe website.

This week USDA announced its first round of USDA Farm to School Grantees, totaling $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia. These grants will support programs that are increasing access to local foods for 1.75 million students in more than 3,200 schools across the country.

In Massachusetts, Boston Public Schools is one of three projects receiving Farm to School funding from USDA.  Congratulations to the MA Farm to School Project and Ezra H. Baker Elementary School (West Dennis, MA)!

The BPS Farm to School Initiative is excited about this opportunity to take farm to school to the next level in Boston! BPS has significantly increased access to local produce through Local Lunch Thursdays in our full kitchen cafeterias over the past few years.  The next step is to make sure students, parents, and teachers know that these healthy options are available and to get them excited about trying these local veggies on the lunch line.  This grant will support the BPS Farm to School Initiative’s efforts in engaging students with the locally grown produce in the cafeteria and connecting with existing school-based educational resources (i.e. school gardens, wellness councils, etc.) and community partners to provide farm field trips, culinary training and much more. Stay tuned for more details about the BPS Farm to School Initiative this year!

Also f you’d like to learn about the other projects that are being funded check out the USDA website.

The USDA Farm to School Grants are a result of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) that amended Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) to establish a Farm to School program to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

 Farm to School is one component of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, launched in 2009 to coordinate the Department’s work on local and regional food systems and create new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural communities.

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