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Bringing fun to lunchtime — in the cafeteria and on the go

School lunch procedures may look a little different this year, but meals crafted with fun in mind can nourish students’ bodies and lift their spirits.

3 min read


Bringing fun to lunchtime -- in the cafeteria and on the go

Image: Campbell's Foodservice

This post is sponsored by Campbell’s Foodservice.

New class structures may mean that students aren’t sitting down to lunch in the cafeteria this year, but there are plenty of ways to deliver smiles with classroom meals or grab-and-go options. Making lunchtime something students look forward to starts with staff, the School Nutrition Association writes in its “Thought Starters on Reopening Schools for SY2020-21.” The guide encourages staff to stay visible and find fun ways to interact with students, such as serving lunch or making classroom deliveries in coordinated shirts or hats.

Fun menu items, familiar flavors and a few extra surprises can all go a long way toward serving lunches that nourish students’ bodies and lift their spirits.

Appeal to students’ taste buds and save time with individual packages

Although lunch options are more limited this year, school foodservice operators can keep menus exciting by incorporating individually-wrapped items that appeal to students.

Campbell’s Foodservice offers a line of Goldfish products for K-12 that combine fun shapes and tasty flavors students love with single-serve packaging and nutrition profiles that help operators build convenient, balanced meals.

“As the most popular cracker brand among households with kids under 12, our fun, flavorful and kid-favorite products like Goldfish Made with Whole Grain can help to reduce plate waste and encourage consumption of whole grain foods,” said Jennifer McQuillan, senior nutrition analyst for Campbell’s Foodservice.

“Carefully crafted, Whole Grain Goldfish that meet Smart Snack Guidelines contribute 1 oz. of whole grains per serving and can be easily incorporated into school mealtimes,” she said. “For example, fun varieties like Goldfish Made with Whole Grain Colors add excitement to any school lunch or snack.”

The colorful crackers rely on colors sourced from plants such as watermelon juice concentrate, paprika and turmeric for their range of hues that make them stand out from the classic orange variety. Goldfish Made with Whole Grain Pretzel offers another twist that’s popular with students, featuring classic pretzel flavor and 10 grams of whole grain per serving.

For students whose tastes lean more sweet than salty, Goldfish Grahams put a snackable spin on flavors like french toast and honey bun.

Mix and match for multiple meal options

Using individually-wrapped items as building blocks for inventive meals allows schools to offer a variety of different options just by switching a few elements. Different pairings keep students excited about what’s on the menu and give them a chance to identify favorite flavor combinations. Pretzels and hummus may make one student’s day, while another can’t wait to see yogurt parfaits back on the menu.

Whether sweet or savory, Goldfish crackers can be combined with other elements to create a wide range of school meals.

“Understanding the need for meal solutions, while keeping up with K-12 trends, our Campbell’s team has added 14 fully reimbursable Goldfish recipes to our existing collection that allow operators to feed students in and away from school,” McQuillan said.

“My personal favorite, Breakfast Banana Split Made With Goldfish Grahams, is a fully reimbursable breakfast and is perfect as a grab-and-go option.”

Include a little something extra

Including stickers or activity sheets with meals can be a fun surprise for students. Jokes or encouraging messages can lighten up lunchtime, while printed cards with nutrition education facts can offer an extra opportunity for learning.

Visit the Campbell’s Foodservice site to view the recipe collection and learn more about serving fun and functional school meals.