Packing or buying school lunch is a daily debate for many families — and local students will have a chance to have a favorite recipe from home become part of the school lunch menu with a contest underway this week.
The Jackson County School System is hoping to educate parents about healthy school choices and encourage them to take advantage of convenient and well-balanced school lunches as part of National School Lunch Week celebrations, Oct. 15-19.
The National School Lunch Week theme, “School Lunch – Lots 2 Love,” reminds school communities and parents about the many nutritious choices and continued improvements to school lunch menus.
Students will be encouraged to show their love for school lunch with specially planned menus, decorations, cafeteria events and more.
In addition, a student recipe contest is underway, with children invited to submit their favorite recipes to their school cafeteria managers by Friday, Oct. 19. Three student finalists will be selected from each grade band for the system, PreK-5, 6-8, and 9-12. A grand prize winner will be selected for each grade band.
Recipes need not be original, but students are encouraged to submit recipes that can be incorporated into the school service program, use locally-grown ingredients, and are low in fat and sugar.
Local efforts include Georgia-grown products
According to Dr. Debra Morris, JCSS school nutrition director, the system is committed to its school nutrition programs and is excited to share successful and new 2018 food service initiatives with students and parents.
“As recently as this past September, food service staff was trained in the art of creating the perfect salads and subs in our Gordon Street Center test kitchen,” Dr. Morris said.
Including the use of locally sourced, Georgia-grown produce on their menus, JCSS has a robust Harvest of the Month program, in which a different fresh produce is featured in various ways on the lunch menu that month.
Chicken, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon and roasted vegetables from Georgia farms are among Georgia-grown items available daily. For older students and students with special diet considerations, counting carbohydrates can be an important part of maintaining a healthy diet, so JCSS includes carb counts based on grams on their menus.
“Georgia-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, low-fat milk and whole-grain rich options are just a sampling of what’s offered in our cafeterias,” Dr. Morris said. “We focus on our students’ nutrition, but also keep in mind we need to satisfy their desire for delicious tasting foods — otherwise students won’t choose these options and our efforts are wasted.”
“It is so important that we celebrate the fantastic initiatives that are making our school lunches healthier, more accessible and more appealing to students across the state,” said Georgia School Nutrition Association President Nicole James.
“National School Lunch Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices Georgia schools offer in our cafeterias to support students with a well-balanced school lunch.”
President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week in 1962. During this annual week-long celebration, SNA members and students around the country celebrate what makes their local school lunch program special. Parents and students can follow the fun on or
The Georgia School Nutrition Association is a non-profit professional organization representing more than 6,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the state.
Founded in 1951, GSNA is devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well-being through school meals and sound nutrition education.