K12Foodies Episode 8: Launching a Successful SNAC Campaign with Linda Brimanson


Linda Brimanson of Cabarrus County Schools (NC) has over 30 years of experience in child nutrition and has launched and managed Student Nutrition Advisory Councils at every level of K12 schools. She joins us to share her tips on managing successful SNAC programs.

One of Linda’s favorite SNAC resources is the SNA of North Carolina website; we hope you find it useful.

Would you like to share your favorite resources or lessons you’ve learned in child nutrition? Be a guest on K12Foodies! Email us at k12foodies@mealsplus.com.

[Free Download] 2016 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook

school-pos-systemTo show our appreciation our Meals Plus Customers, we have published our 2016 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook! This free cookbook is filled with over 50 popular recipes in an effort to help increase participation in the lunchroom, while still meeting USDA meal pattern regulations. It also includes creative promotional ideas and award-winning recipes from student cooking competitions from Middletown City Schools (OH) and Lexington School District One (SC).

Each school district has received one free copy, and additional copies are available for purchase at-cost. Email recipes@mealsplus.com for more information. You can also download the cookbook completely free, here!

Would you like to submit a recipe for our 2017 Customer Cookbook? Email them to recipes@mealsplus.com. You can submit as many recipes as you’d like, and we welcome photos of your dishes.

Thank you for being a part of the Meals Plus Family, and Happy Holidays!


Episode 7: School Gardens with ‘School Garden Guru’ Bill Whitcomb, Jr.


School gardens don’t have to be intimidating! ‘School Garden Guru’ Bill Whitcomb, Jr. of Whitsons Culinary Group shares the benefits of a school garden and tips to start a garden at your school district. You won’t want to miss this energizing episode – it will make you want to run out and plant a garden tomorrow!

If you’d like more information on school gardens, contact Bill at gardens@whitsons.com, follow him on Twitter @WCG_GardenGuru, or complete a school garden information form on Whitsons Facebook page.

Are you enjoying K12Foodies every #K12FoodiesFriday? Share this episode with the other K12Foodies in your life!

Episode 6: Scratch Cooking, Part 2 of 2 with Sally Spero, SNS


Sally Spero, SNS of Lakeside Union School District (CA) joins us for Part 2 of her “Back to Basics: Scratch Cooking” series. In this episode, she tells us what calculations we need to do to know if scratch cooking is beneficial for our district.

If you missed Part 1, you can listen to it here.

Sally went above and beyond and even created a Labor Cost Calculation spreadsheet for K12Foodies listeners! Click here to download it.  Thank you, Sally, for sharing such great information with us and for being our first repeat guest on K12Foodies!

Episode 5: Traveling Omelet Bars with Chef Mario Perez


Chef Mario Perez brings nutrition, music and fun to the students of Comal ISD (TX). In Episode 5 of K12Foodies, we hear how this beloved “carnie in the lunchroom” encourages students to try new foods while increasing breakfast participation with his traveling omelet bars.

Chef Mario was the recipient of the national 2015 Be-A-Star Award as Chartwells Culinary Leader of the Year. Chef Mario and Comal ISD are a part of the Chefs Move to Schools program, which has helped make Chef Mario a popular figure in the district’s lunchrooms, where he demonstrates how healthy eating can be fun. Thank you, Chef Mario, for bringing your energy and creativity for school meals to K12Foodies!


Providing Relief for those Affected by Hurricane Matthew

This month, Hurricane Matthew caused great destruction and despair in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The storm is responsible for over 1,000 deaths, $7 billion dollars in damage, and those numbers continue to grow.

Photo: Getty Images, 2016 Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images, 2016 Getty Images

Although Hurricane Matthew has since dissipated offshore, the destruction from the storm continues to worsen, especially due to record flooding in North and South Carolina. Roads, homes and businesses have been severely damaged, schools are closed, people have been trapped in their homes or forced to evacuate, and many are still without power.

Some of the Meals Plus Family are among those affected, especially in the Carolinas, and we hope you will join us in donating to the American Red Cross to help fellow Meals Plus school districts. We hope the goodwill of those that are able to donate money, blood or platelets will help ease the suffering of Hurricane Matthew’s victims. Click here, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew.

Episode 4: “Butter at the Salad Bar?” with Liz Perry-Wyss


This week’s K12Foodie is Healthcare and Education Specialist Liz Perry-Wyss. She shares with us how Cincinnati Public Schools used her product, Butter Buds, in a completely new way and got students excited about their cafeteria salad bar!

Follow Butter Buds on Twitter @bbuds to learn more ways Butter Buds can increase participation at your school cafeteria salad bars.

Spice Up National School Lunch Week- Buffalo Style!

This week is National School Lunch Week!

For NSLW 2016, we are featuring recipes from our Meals Plus Customer Cookbook, which will be available to download this fall. This cookbook will feature 50+ delicious school meal recipes submitted by Meals Plus Customers and school meal recipes using USDA Foods. And best of all – every Meals Plus Customer receives one free copy! Our final featured recipe is Buffalo Chicken Flatbread.

1 each, 2oz. – flatbread, WW
1 tsp. – fat free Ranch dressing, bulk
1 oz. – diced chicken
1 oz. – mozzarella, shredded, partly skimmed cheese
1/4 tsp. – vegetable oil
1 tbsp. – hot sauce, RS

1. Thaw flatbread on lined sheet pan(s). Lightly brush top of thawed flatbread with oil.
2. Spread ranch dressing evenly over entire flatbread. Weigh out 1 oz. of cheese and spread evenly over the ranch dressing, spreading all of the way to the edges.
3. Weigh out 1 oz. of thawed diced chicken. Toss chicken with hot sauce, coating entirely. Spread chicken evenly over the cheese.
4. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 5-7 minutes, just long enough for the cheese to melt and the chicken to reach an internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. Hold for hot service at 135° or higher.
CCP: Heat to 165° F or higher for at least 15 seconds
CCP: Hold at 135° F or higher.

buffalo2Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 279
Chol (mg) – 36.79
Sodium (mg) – 750.45
Fiber (gm) – 2.71
Iron (mg) – 1.39
Calc (mg) – 765.12
Vit A (IU) – 403.50
Vit C (mg) – 3.67
Protein (gm) – 20.75
Carb (gm) – 28.35
Tot Fat (gm) – 8.84
Sat Fat (gm) – 3.03
Sugars (gm) – 2.50
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*


Spice Up National School Lunch Week – Southwestern Style!

This week is National School Lunch Week!

For NSLW 2016, we are featuring recipes from our 2016 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook. This cookbook will feature 50+ delicious school meal recipes submitted by Meals Plus Customers and school lunch recipes using USDA Foods. And best of all – every Meals Plus Customer receives one free copy! The cookbook will be available to download for everyone this fall. 

Today’s featured recipe is Southwestern Vegetarian Salad and was submitted by Asheboro City Schools (NC).

3 oz. – salad mix
2 oz. –  Bush’s taco fiesta black beans
2 oz. – yellow shredded cheddar cheese, RF
1 oz. – peeled raw cucumber
3 each – cherry tomatoes

1. Place 2 cups (3oz) of salad mix in plastic container.
2. Place 2 oz. of drained beans in the center of the lettuce.
3. Above the beans, sprinkle 2 oz. of cheese.
4. In the bottom left hand corner, place tomatoes.
5. In the bottom right hand corner, place sliced cucumbers.
6. Place 8 packs of crackers in the container.
7. Before closing the lid of the container, place 6 partially open containers on a full sheet pan and place in the walk-in for 5 minutes. (This will help bring down the temperature of all the food items quickly and prevent condensation.)
8. After 5 minutes, close the lid and put a label on it.

southwestern2Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 415
Chol (mg) – 32.00
Sodium (mg) – 1073.55
Fiber (gm) – 8.23
Iron (mg) – 3.14
Calc (mg) – 556.84
Vit A (IU) – 5556.78
Vit C (mg) – 12.65
Protein (gm) – 22.91
Carb (gm) – 47.33
Tot Fat (gm) – 14.86
Sat Fat (gm) – 8.58
Sugars (gm) – 4.12
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*


Episode 3: Scratch Cooking, Part 1 of 2 with Sally Spero, SNS


Child Nutrition Director of Lakeside Union School District (CA) Sally Spero, SNS joins K12Foodies to get “back to basics” with scratch cooking. Learn what foods are good for scratch cooking, the advantages that it allows, and what factors should be considered when deciding if scratch cooking is right for you.

Stay tuned for the continuation of “Scratch Cooking, Part 2 of 2” with Sally Spero, SNS at K12Foodies.com.