As we approach the end of the school year, children will be looking forward to their long summer holiday, parents will be considering how to spend the time – but what about the schools themselves?
The time between the end of the school year and the start of the new year is the perfect time to get prepared. If your responsibility is within food for education and preparing menus for your school, here are our tips for planning your menus for the new school term.
Understand dietary requirements and preferences
Before planning your school menu, it’s important to gather information about the different dietary requirements and preferences. There’s a number of ways this can be collated, such as through surveys or communications with parents that allow you to record any common food allergies, intolerances, cultural preferences and vegetarian/vegan choices.
By having all the different requirements, you’ll be able to design menus that are delicious and nutritious for children, whilst also identifying any changes/additional extras that are needed to ensure everyone is fed with food that fits their needs. Our range of wholesale bakery products allow schools to cater for all requirements, whilst providing nutritious options. From wholemeal and white deli rolls to standard and vegetarian/vegan friendly brioche style buns, our range allows you to be creative with your menus.
Variety is key
Promoting healthy eating habits is essential for students’ overall well-being. Include a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products in your menu and aim to create balanced meals that include all major food groups. Offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives is also important to cater to students with specific dietary preferences, whilst also encouraging children to try new and different things. You could consider rotating your menu on a weekly or monthly basis to keep things interesting and introduce new flavours and textures. This would also provide you with opportunities to gather feedback from students on how much they’re enjoying the options provided.
If you need any inspiration, we have a portfolio of recipes which are fun, tasty and utilise our product range perfectly. Take a look and let your creativity flow!
Partner with nutrition experts
Working with nutrition experts, such as dieticians or health professionals, can be invaluable when planning your school menus. They can provide guidance on the correct portion sizes for children, recommend healthy ingredient substitutions, and help you analyse the nutritional content of the dishes you offer. Their expertise ensures that the meals meet national dietary guidelines and contribute to students’ optimal health and development. As a school food supplier, we not only provide schools with our range of frozen wholesale food, but we also provide a wide range of guidance and support, such as advice on developing menus.
Let kids in on the planning
Involving students and their parents in the menu planning process could empower them and increase their engagement at lunchtime. Gauge interest by conducting taste tests or surveys to gather feedback on current menu items and ideas on new dishes/what children would like to see at lunchtime.
These are just some of the fundamental areas we feel you should consider when planning your menus ready for the new term but if you need more support, Kara is here to help. As the go-to bakery brand in foodservice, we use our years of expertise in baked goods and consumer requirements to evolve our products and documentation, such as our handy guide which showcases which of our products meet FSA salt and sugar guidelines.