Love this piece! A fellow blogger interviewed school meal program folks like me and here is her take on what works to get kids to eat the good stuff.
Take a look: Six Quick Lessons From the School Lunch Line
1. Advisory panels of (she says) parents - I say students.
2. Introduce the new stuff slowly - same good pizza with a whole grain crust. We switched the crust the first year and the cheese to low fat the next year. Psych.
3. Free samples - it's hard to say no to free stuff. I had high school students eating fresh, local steamed asparagus because it was free.
4. Peer pressure - contests, direct asks, and positive social pressure from students who do like it. Find your cheerleaders.
5. Don't give up - she mentions a school district where it took a year for students to accept dark leafy lettuce rather than iceberg. We switched to brown rice cold turkey at the start of the school year. They didn't notice. We plan to do that next year with whole grain hamburger and hot dog buns.
6. Know when to give up - she says, "Sometimes you have to let the customers be right, even when they're not". Our epic fail was fish tacos. I love them. Most kids didn't. Now we have "Make Your Own Taco Day" and they wrap it themselves. If they want to leave out the cole slaw, they can. If they just want to eat the fish pieces, they can. Want to dip the tortilla (whole grain!) in the dressing? Sure, why not?
Make the healthy choice the easy choice.