3 Ways to Reduce End-of-Year Lunch Debt

At the end of the school year, uncollected lunch debt can put schools in a difficult situation. The balance between feeding hungry students and maintaining financial stability while also following district guidelines is crucial. Luckily, there are ways to help reduce this problem. Following these guidelines along with the help of Meals Plus can help you end your school year right.

1.  Make sure eligible students take advantage of free and reduced-price meals.

The start of the school year can strongly impact how your cafeteria finishes out the year. Communication with parents is crucial, and the sooner you can start the better! Create a summer outreach plan to encourage early application submission so kids have reimbursable meals from the first day of school. Moving this process online can also increase completed applications while making the processing easier for schools. With LunchApplication the free and reduced application process is easy and accessible for parents while integrating with the Meals Plus Free and Reduced program to accurately update eligibility.

2.  Encourage meal prepayment with alternative methods.

Another online solution for optimizing parent accessibility is offering an online payment system. With K12PaymentCenter, the process of loading money onto student accounts is simplified by allowing credit and debit card payments whenever they want. This automatically integrates with the Meals Plus POS so balance and activity are always updated.

3.  Remind parents when money is owed.

Being proactive in keeping parents informed about their student’s account can make a huge difference in decreasing outstanding balances. K12PaymentCenter not only allows parents to view account balances and what students are buying but also sends balance notifications via email and text, so they are always in the loop. Soon parents will even be able to do all of this from the convenience of their smartphone. Be on the lookout soon for K12PaymentCenter to hit the app store!

The key to reducing unpaid meal charges is being proactive, and communicating clearly. With Meals Plus, these steps can be taken in a simple, automated way making things easier for parents and cafeteria staff.  For more guidelines on overcoming the unpaid meal challenge, check out the USDA Food and Nutrition Service guide.

A Breakfast Recipe That Walnut Fail!

This week is National School Breakfast Week!

This is our last featured recipe for National School Breakfast Week 2016 from our Meals Plus Child Nutrition Cookbook, which you can download here. The cookbook includes recipes from Meals Plus customers from across the country and school breakfast recipes using USDA foods. Use this recipe in your cafeteria and as a grab and go breakfast!

Walnutty Blueberry Parfait

Ingredients:
6 lb. + 4 oz. California Walnuts
25 lb. vanilla yogurt, skim
17 lb. USDA frozen blueberries, IQF, Material #100244
6 lb. + 4 oz. low fat granola cereal

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Directions:
1. Set up 6 qt. food processor with S blade.
2. Place 3 qt. plus 1/2 cup (3 # 2 oz.) of walnut pieces in food processor.
3. Pulse 3 times to lightly chop walnuts. Repeat for one more batch.
4. Pull 12 oz. clear parfait cups with flat and dome lids from storage and place at workstation. Cafeteria_food_in_schools
5. Using a 2 oz., spoodle add 1/4 c. of granola to each soufflé cup. CCP: Never handle ready to eat foods with bare hands.
6. To assemble: place 4 oz. of yogurt in bottom of cup using a 4 oz. spoodle. CCP: Prepare foods at room temperature in two hours or less.
7. Top with 1/2 c. of frozen blueberries using a 4 oz. spoodle.
8. Add 1 oz. of chopped walnuts using a 2 oz. spoodle.
9. Seal with clear flat lid.
10. Place 1 soufflé of granola on top of flat lid and seal with domed lid.
11. Date stamp and place in cooler for service. CCP: Hold below 41°F.

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Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 407.812
Chol (mg) – 5.670
Sodium (mg) – 129.845
Fiber (gm) – 4.953
Iron (mg) – 1.951
Calc (mg) – 237.247
Vit A (IU) – 465.523
Vit C (mg) – 3.669
Protein (gm) – 11.869
Carb (gm) – 46.524
Tot Fat (gm) – 21.958
Sat Fat (gm) – 2.970
Sugars (gm) – 5.460
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*

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Online Lunch Payment System Helps Schools, Parents and Students

If you’re not using Meals Plus’ online payment system, LunchPrepay.com, you should be and here’s why…

LunchPrepay.com Helps Your Schools

  • FREE FOR YOU if you already use Meals Plus Point of Sale system for school cafeterias
  • Quick and easy setup – we give you all of the promotional material, including an audio file for your parent notification system and a customizable flyer, email and press release.
  • Take payments for meals AND school fees
  • Reduces paperwork for your district staff
  • Easy to manage
  • Prevents unpaid lunch debt
  • Increases participation
  • Speeds up lunch line

LunchPrepay.com Helps Students and Parents

  • Safe, secure and easy-to-use
  • Less hassle than paper checks
  • Manage all children’s accounts in one place
  • Low balance notification emails
  • View children’s “Meal History”
  • Prevents lost lunch money

The capabilities don’t end there. Plus, because it is a Meals Plus service, it is backed by the best technical support in K-12 cafeteria software.

Contact us for more information on how LunchPrepay.com can make this year better for your school staff, parents and students!

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