What restaurant chain serves the most meals in Botetourt County? “No it isn’t a fast food place, every week day Botetourt County School cafeterias serve 4,500 meals at breakfast and lunch,” said Chris Morris, Nutrition Specialist for Botetourt County Public Schools. She credited School Superintendent Dr. Tony Brads with coming up with the catchy comparison. “The school cafeteria system has its own budget and we run it like a business, ” she stated. It is a business with new federal nutrition guidelines as well.
Gone are the days where a potato will serve as the primary vegetable focus. A new nutritious menu featuring leafy dark green, red/orange and salad choices laced with fresh and local produce seasonally is on the table at lunch. ” We serve Caesar salad, black bean and corn salsa, spinach, kale, sweet potato fries and new menu entree items like orange chicken and pineapple chicken, ” said Morris. “We had pintos last week and the kids just gobbled them up. We do offer potatoes in regular fries and the like, but we have healthier choices. One of those choices is brown rice instead of white rice.”
One of the best new additions? A 100% pure beef hamburger patty. “It tastes just like what you would use to grill at home,” Morris commented.
Though the cost has risen some to meet the new guidelines, they are making the adjustments because as Morris said, “It is the right thing to do during this economy.” A lunch at the elementary level is $2 and at the middle and high school level it is $2.15. “We have to be concerned about costs of course, but we are partnering with Roanoke City Schools to get our produce from Roanoke Fruit and Produce which uses locally grown fruits and vegetables.”
The school division menu is on its first cycle and includes breakfast which will be adjusted next year toward more whole grains. “Our staff has really come on board over the summer to make the new menu a success,” she noted. They learned a new computer system, government guidelines and how to integrate “My Lunch Money” a new program that will be implemented so parents can load money onto lunch accounts via a computer.
“I really want feed back. So far we see that it has been well received. I hear from the cafeteria managers and principals that our students seem to embrace the changes. There are incidentally two new elementary cafeteria mangers this year. JoAnn Edwards at Breckinridge and Lynn Latino at Colonial. But, Morris wants to hear from the student consumers and their parents.
How to give feedback? For now, you can call her at 540 473-8259 or email your comments to email@example.com.