[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!

Cooking Contest Allows Students to Contribute to District Menu

If you’ve been following our blog, you are probably already aware that Lexington School District One (SC) is promoting their meal program in really fun and exciting ways. They have had cooking demonstrations at community-wide festivals, increased participation in the lunchroom with Rice Krispies Treats® and are currently hosting a cooking contest for their district’s students.

Lexington 1 Cooks is a healthy lunch recipe competition for students that enjoy making healthy and affordable lunches. Three winners will be chosen by a panel of guest judges, each will win an All-Clad Sauté Pan and Spatula, and their recipe will be featured on the 2016-2017 district’s menu. The Grand Prize winners will also have their recipes featured in our 2016 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook. There will be prizes for second and third places, and every student that submits a recipe will receive a coupon for one free sales item in their cafeteria.

Each recipe submission must meet NSLP guidelines and use ingredients from a pre-approved list, which means Lexington One Cooks not only teaches students about healthy meal choices, but it is also an opportunity to teach students and parents about school menu regulations.

Invitation to the First Annual Lexington One Cooks Award Ceremony.

Invitation to the First Annual Lexington One Cooks Award Ceremony.

The winners will be announced on May 5th, 2016, and we can’t wait to share the winners and their recipes here on our blog. Good luck to the participants and thank you, Lexington School District One, for making school meals fun!


A-Peelingly Easy Oats for National School Breakfast Week

This week is National School Breakfast Week

To celebrate NSBW, we are featuring recipes 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. Enjoy these Apples and Oats in your cafeterias!

Apples and Oats

15 lb. + 10 oz. Peterson Farms Apple dices, fresh cut, ready to eat
3 gal. + 2 c. steel cut oatmeal, sweetened

Pull 4 oz. soufflé cups and place at workstation.
Using a 4 oz. spoodle, place ½ c. or 2.5 oz. of fresh diced apples into cups.
Cover tightly and date stamp.
Place in steamtable pans or in food storage shallow bins. May stack 4 high. CCP: Hold below 41°F. CCP: Never handle ready to eat foods with bare hands.
Refrigerate until service.
If utilizing a pre-packaged steel cup oatmeal, follow manufacturer’s directions.
If utilizing an in-house recipe, cook according to recipe
instructions. CCP: Hold above 135°F.
8. Serve ½ c. oatmeal with ½ c. fresh diced apples.


Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 227.596
Chol (mg) – 0.000
Sodium (mg) – 15.608
Fiber (gm) – 10.072
Iron (mg) – 0.362
Calc (mg) – 543.316
Vit A (IU) – 50.624
Vit C (mg) – 51.637
Protein (gm) – 5.029
Carb (gm) – 48.849
Tot Fat (gm) – 2.012
Sat Fat (gm) – 0.402
Sugars (gm) – 27.712
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*


Submit Your Recipes for The 2016 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook

Wouldn’t you like to know which recipes helped other districts increase participation in their lunchrooms?

Graham and the Cook bookTo show our appreciation to our customers, last year we published the first edition of our “Meals Plus Customer Cookbook.” The free cookbook was filled with popular recipes from cafeterias across the country – the recipes that bring students back time and time again.

In order for this year’s cookbook to be a success, we need your most popular and tasty recipes! To submit your recipes, email them to recipes@mealsplus.com and we will take care of the rest.

Just like last year, every Meals Plus Customer will receive one cookbook completely free of charge, and additional copies will be available for purchase. The proceeds from the additional cookbook sales will be donated to charity, and an electronic version of the cookbook will also be available.

Thank you for being a part of the Meals Plus Family!


NEW: Recipe Sharing in the Cloud

At Meals Plus, our mission is to provide you with the solutions to run an efficient school nutrition program, which is our way of “keeping your lunchlines moving!” We feel we successfully fulfill our mission with a comprehensive software suite, free resources (such as our child nutrition white papers), and a new way to add to your district’s menus – the Meals Plus Community Cookbook.


As part of the Auto Update 125, Meals Plus Menu Planning software customers can now share their recipes and download recipes from districts across the country. The Community Cookbook also allows customers to rate and leave feedback for recipes. Contact us today for more information!

Lunchroom_technology_in _schools

New Meal Pattern Requirements Prompt Schools to Think Outside the Box

Now that the 2012-2013 school year is in full-swing, school food service staff across the country are seeing first-hand how the new meal pattern requirements are playing out with their students. Because children are now required to have more fruits, vegetables, dark greens and legumes during the week, child nutrition directors are concerned with the students actually consuming their food rather than creating “healthy trash cans”. A recent article from the Associated Press highlighted the efforts being made to encourage consumption.

A district in Hopkins, Minnesota is recruiting “food coaches” to travel to elementary schools and give out free samples of fruits and vegetables. For older-age students, “food coaches” take the form of other students such as upperclassmen or student athletes. A Colorado State University study showed students ate more of the healthier items when they ate after recess rather than before. Packaging and labeling also has an effect, as students are more apt to choose the healthier options in colorful containers and original names. For instance, corn consumption went up in a Colorado school when it was colorfully labeled “mellow yellow corn” rather than simply “corn”.

Impulse buys are not just effective for a grocery store checkout lines – “grab and go” foods by cash registers increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Schools have even been creative with contest and challenges that promote healthy eating and generate buzz for the students.

How have you increased healthy food consumption in your school? Tell us about it and you could be featured in our next blog post!



New Rules for School Meals Starting This Year

At an elementary school in Alexandria, VA last week the USDA unveiled it’s long-awaited updated requirements for school meals. In an effort to decrease child obesity and knowing that most children are consuming more than half the calories they eat in a day at school, the final rules for school breakfasts and lunches were released. The standards for school meals have not been raised in more than 15 years. Beginning July 1, 2012, the amount of fruits and vegetables provided will double, all grains will be rich in whole-grain, only low-fat or fat-free milk will be offered, sodium will be limited and calorie maximums and minimums will be enforced.

So what does this mean for you district’s cafeterias? If your school performs well, you can receive an additional 6 cents per meal. And common-sense pricing standards guarantee your federal funding stays competitive with your non-Federal fund sources. The foods you sell in vending machines, carts, and other non-traditional venues will also be tracked.

How can we help? The Meals Plus management system provides you with the real-time data and easy-to-generate reports so that audits will be a breeze. Meals Plus Menus is USDA-approved for use in conducting nutrient analysis, streamlines your district’s menu planning and meets HACCP requirements. Meals Plus Menus also works in conjunction with our school cafeteria Inventory and Production Modules, so a lot of your daily tasks are automated. (Check out this short video to see how they all work together!)

For more information on how Meals Plus can make adhering to the new USDA standards for school meals, contact us today!