Child Nutrition and Psychology Combine for Smarter Lunchrooms

What do psychologists at Cornell University and Child Nutrition Directors have in common? They both want to figure out how to help students make healthier choices in the cafeteria!

Cynthia Sevier, the School Nutrition Operations Consultant for Meals Plus, at the 2018 Smarter Lunchrooms Symposium with a Meals Plus customer at Cornell University in early May.

In 2009 Cornell’s Food & Brands Lab created the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. These studies examine how social and environmental elements of a cafeteria can influence students’ food selection and consumption. In other words, Smarter Lunchrooms provides low or no cost strategies to ‘nudge’ students to choose healthier foods while also decreasing waste, increasing participation, and increasing revenue. Some of these strategies include moving healthy food options to easy to reach, high-traffic areas, labeling healthy meals with fun, creative names, and representing white milk as at least 1/3 of all milk on display.

Earlier this month, Cynthia Sevier, School Nutrition Operations Consultant for Meals Plus, attended the Smarter Lunchrooms Symposium hosted by Cornell University. At the symposium, Cynthia learned about how the six principles of behavioral economics apply to food psychology. She also heard about research on Smarter Lunchrooms conducted in Florida, Georgia. Montana, and Nigeria. As a former Child Nutrition Director and certified School Nutrition Specialist, Cynthia said that the Smarter Lunchrooms Symposium was, “a great environment to learn about encouraging students to make healthy food choices.”

For more information and resources on making your cafeteria smarter, visit Smarter Lunchrooms Movement online. See how Meals Plus can help you plan smart options for your students with the menu planning and nutrient analysis solutions!

 

3 Ways to Prevent Allergic Reactions in Your Cafeteria

Did you know in a cafeteria of 100 students, at least four are likely to be affected by food allergies? In addition, about 20% of these students with food allergies will have a reaction while at school. That’s why food allergy awareness is vital for schools! These tips can help ensure each student who passes through the lunch line is safe with the help of Meals Plus!

1. Identify student with allergies.
The first step in promoting safety and inclusion in the cafeteria is knowing which students are allergic to which ingredients. Meals Plus offers built-in dietary and allergen restriction features that allow for “prohibited item” settings, custom messages for cashiers, allergy reports, and more!

2. Keep cafeteria staff informed.
Each staff member is an important part of the food allergy management team. It is essential to create an allergen-safe food preparation area and post informative posters, in English and Spanish, to remind staff about allergen safety. Develop cleaning procedures including washing all tables and chairs with soap and water after each meal period. Also be sure staff is checking and re-checking all food labels with each purchase for potential food allergens.

3. Get parents involved.
The key to managing food allergies is through a partnership between families and schools. Be attentive to the particular needs of each child with food allergies and discuss an individual Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan with parents. It is also helpful to provide menus in advance for parents to use in planning. With our digital menu suite integration with School Nutrition and Fitness, parents can filter specific allergens to personalize cafeteria menus to their child’s unique options.

Following these three tips and providing ongoing training on the severity of food allergies and the precautions will help ensure a child’s safety. At Meals Plus we are dedicated to keeping your lunch line moving safely for every student’s needs! You can also help spread awareness this week in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 13-19, 2018). But, there will be chances to get involved throughout the whole month of May!

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: April 2018

Meals Plus continues to provide top-notch customer service – and fast!

Each month, Meals Plus generates random surveys after technical support calls to ensure our customers have the best support experience possible.

Here are the results of April 2018’s surveys, and some highlights from the month:

  • The average time to answer a support call was only 10 seconds.
  • The average talk time with a customer was only 11 minutes and 50 seconds.

Thank you to the Meals Plus Team for their hard work and providing the best customer support in K-12 cafeteria software!

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: March 2018

Meals Plus continues to provide top-notch customer service – and fast!

Each month, Meals Plus generates random surveys after technical support calls to ensure our customers have the best support experience possible.

Here are the results of March 2018’s surveys, and some highlights from the month:

  • The average time to answer a support call was only 9 seconds.
  • The average talk time with a customer was only 13 minutes and 2 seconds.

Thank you to the Meals Plus Team for their hard work and providing the best customer support in K-12 cafeteria software!

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: February 2018

Meals Plus continues to provide top-notch customer service – and fast!

Each month, Meals Plus generates random surveys after technical support calls to ensure our customers have the best support experience possible.

Here are the results of January 2018’s surveys, and some highlights from the month:

  • The average time to answer a support call was only 12 seconds.
  • The average talk time with a customer was only 12 minutes and 19 seconds.

Thank you to the Meals Plus Team for their hard work and providing the best customer support in K-12 cafeteria software!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

As a part of the nutrition community, Meals Plus wants to highlight all of the available resources; to help make National Nutrition Month a success!

The Meals Plus Customer Cookbook, editions, 2015, 2016 and 2017, are filled with the most popular recipes from school cafeterias across the country in an effort to help increase participation in the lunchroom, while still meeting USDA meal pattern regulations.

Now that you have new healthy recipes, we want to help you promote them with marketing strategies to be more effective within your school meal program:

The Five P’s of Promoting Your School Meal Program examines Product, Placement, Promotion, Price, and People. While 101 Ways to Increase Participation lays out 101 simple participation techniques provided by the Meals Plus family of school districts and their staff.

For more free resources visit our whitepaper library

 

 

 

 

 

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: January 2018

Meals Plus continues to provide top-notch customer service – and fast!

Each month, Meals Plus generates random surveys after technical support calls to ensure our customers have the best support experience possible.

Here are the results of January 2018’s surveys, and some highlights from the month:

  • The average time to answer a support call was only 14 seconds.
  • The average talk time with a customer was only 10 minutes and 8 seconds.

Thank you to the Meals Plus Team for their hard work and providing the best customer support in K-12 cafeteria software!

Meatless Monday with Meals Plus

Meatless Monday is an easy way to come together as a school community to help the planet, and promote healthy eating habits. Over the last 3 years, Meals Plus has collaborated with school cafeterias across the county, and compiled the most popular recipes, while still meeting USDA meal pattern regulations. Among these popular recipes are meat-free options that can be found in every free Customer compiled Cookbook in our White Paper Library.

Download a meatless recipe today!

The Bistro Egg Sandwich2015 Customer Cookbook

Pizza Soup – 2016 Customer Cookbook

Mushroom, Cheese and Black Bean Enchilada – 2017 Customer Cookbook

 

 

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: December 2017

Meals Plus continues to provide top-notch customer service – and fast!

Each month, Meals Plus generates random surveys after technical support calls to ensure our customers have the best support experience possible.

Here are the results of December 2017’s surveys, and some highlights from the month:

  • The average time to answer a support call was only 16 seconds.
  • The average talk time with a customer was only 11 minute and 34 seconds.

Thank you to the Meals Plus Team for their hard work and providing the best customer support in K-12 cafeteria software!

[Free Download] 2017 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook

To show our appreciation our Meals Plus Customers, we have published our 2017 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook! This free cookbook is filled with over 40 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). 

Hard 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 2018 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!