Managing Food Safety in Meals Plus Cafeteria Software

As you may know, December is Worldwide Food Safety Month – a unique opportunity to raise awareness of food allergies inside and outside of schools. With all the buzz around increasing awareness and ensuring food safety in school cafeterias, it poses a question; is your school lunch POS software equipped to alert cashiers of students’ food allergies and other limitations?

Meals Plus understands the importance of ensuring student health and safety and wants to make sure you get all the safeguards you and your students need. Meals Plus school POS system provides a number of features associated with food allergies:

  • Custom messages for cafeteria cashiers
  • Bold pop-up alerts of food allergies for individual  students
  • ‘Prohibited’ item settings
  • Special Messages
  • Custom Allergen set-up
  • Student allergy reports

It’s another way we’re keeping the lunchlines moving…safely.

 

Meals Plus Help Desk Statistics: May 2017

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

The Meals Plus Help Desk generates random surveys after each technical support call every month of the year. The results are then analyzed to ensure our customers have the best experience possible.

Here are a couple of the highlights from our May 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey Results:

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

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

 

Compliance Confidence in Meals Plus’ School POS System

Hello, Meals Plus Matt here!

Is it true that someone, somewhere always wants a report?  Whether it’s sending the state your monthly claim, reviewing a nutrient analysis, or giving your Finance Department detailed figures, you need reliable data that’s both compliant and is right at your fingertips.  You have plenty of day-to-day tasks to take up your time, so let Meals Plus take all the effort out of routine reports.  No need to take my word for it – these are examples of what our customers say:

“Since our implementation of Meals Plus Student Eligibility, POS, and Accountability, our State Reports are accurate and our monthly claim is easy to process. Our cashiers feel confident in their ability to use the program, which keeps our lunchlines moving faster than they ever have, and our students and parents very happy! :)”
Kim Terry, Food Service Director
River Road Independent School District

“We are so pleased with the system and would never encourage our district to look elsewhere for service. It is so nice to have all of the support and ability to run reports, letters and feel so on top of what is going on in our system.”
Jenny Childers, Secretary
Middletown City Schools

We offer easy-to-use software designed to be simple to implement, easy to learn, and created exclusively for K12 cafeterias.  Along with award-winning support, we can help you keep the lunchlines moving (and clear the paperwork headache!).

Email me, matt@mealsplus.com or contact me here to find out more.  I’m here to serve you!

Managing Food Allergies in Meals Plus Cafeteria Software

Hi, Meals Plus Matt here!

As you may know, last week was Food Allergy Awareness Week – a unique opportunity to raise awareness of food allergies inside and outside of schools. With all the buzz around increasing awareness and ensuring food safety in school cafeterias, it poses a question; is your school lunch POS software equipped to alert cashiers of students’ food allergies and other limitations?

Meals Plus understands the importance of ensuring student health and safety and wants to make sure you get all the safeguards you and your students need. Meals Plus school POS system provides a number of features associated with food allergies:

  • Custom messages for cafeteria cashiers
  • Bold pop-up alerts of food allergies for individual  students
  • ‘Prohibited’ item settings
  • Special Messages
  • Custom Allergen set-up
  • Student allergy reports

It’s another way we’re keeping the lunchlines moving…safely.

Email me, matt@mealplus.com or contact me here to find out more. I’m here to serve you!

Meals Plus Customer Spotlight: Nancy Mears, Laurel School District (DE)

Nancy Mears is the Director of School Nutrition for Laurel School District in Laurel, DE, and like many of her colleagues, she has a passion for teaching students about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity. Through her commitment to her community, Laurel School District has been the beneficiary of the USDA Farm-to-School Planning Grant, Nemours Health & Prevention Services Community Transformation Grant and the DelaWell Wellness Champion. Get to know Nancy in our latest Meals Plus Customer Spotlight and click here to read about other Meals Plus Customers across the country!Cafeteria_management

The Dish: How long have you been using Meals Plus?
Nancy Mears: We have been using Meals Plus since January 2015 when we implemented the Point of Sale module. Since then, we have implemented Menu Planning, Nutrient Analysis, Meal Production Records, Accountability and Inventory.

TD: What duties and responsibilities does your position entail?
NM: I serve the taxpayers of Laurel as the Director of School Nutrition for the Laurel School District. I oversee the 25 school nutrition professionals who provide six federal nutrition programs for the benefit of the students in the Laurel School District and the community children in Sussex County, Delaware.

TD: What aspects of your position do you enjoy the most?
NM: I am passionate about all aspects of children’s health, specifically healthy eating. I enjoy being part of a team that does whatever it takes to create and provide an environment that supports healthy eating, even when school is not in session. The cafeteria is our classroom.

TD: What do you like to do in your free time?
NM: Free time? What free time??? Just kidding! I enjoy watching my two sons play baseball and flag football while my husband coaches. We also like to travel and visit different restaurants… so I can conduct “research” of course!

TD: What is your favorite lunch when you were in school?
NM: My favorite school lunch was, and still is, shepherd’s pie.

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There Are So Many "Pastabilities" for National School Lunch Week!

This week is National School Lunch Week!

To celebrate NSLW, we are featuring recipes from our first-ever Meals Plus Customer Cookbook, which Meals Plus Customers will receive this winter. The cookbook will feature over 50 school meal recipes submitted by Meals Plus Customers and school meal recipes using USDA Foods. Every Meals Plus Customer will receive one copy, and additional copies will be available for sale. Wednesday’s featured recipe is Yakisoba and was submitted by Onslow County School System (NC).

Yakisoba

Ingredients:
10 lb. ground beef
5 lb. 13 oz. spaghetti noodles
6 lb. 3 oz. cabbage (coleslaw mix)
3 ½ c. soy sauce
1 ½ tbsp. table salt
2 tbsp. garlic powder
Water

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Directions:
1. Put water, salt and noodles in pan.
2. Cook in steamer until tender 10-12 min, stir occasionally. Drain well. CCP: Thaw ground beef in refrigerator on bottom shelf from frozen state.
3. Brown the ground beef in the steamer or tilt kettle.
4. Drain thoroughly. Chop into bits.
5. Add cooked noodles, soy sauce, garlic powder and coleslaw mix to the beef.
6. Toss mixture gently. CCP: Cook combined mixture to 155°F or higher.
7. Cook mixture to 155°F or higher.
8. Use food release on pans.
9. Pour Yakisoba into two 12” x 20” x 2” full pans. CCP: Maintain temperature of spaghetti mixture at 141°F or higher.
10. Never combined leftover product with newly prepared product when serving or reheating.
11. Cover, label and date any leftover product and store in cooler.
12. Be sure product depth is no more than 2 inches deep in the pan. CCP: Always cool leftovers to 70°F within 2 hours and 41°F within 4hrs. CCP: Reheat all leftovers to 165°F before serving.
13. Use leftover product next day.
14. Discard any leftovers after next day service.
15. Use 1(#8) spoodle or 2(#8) scoops.

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Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 250
Chol. (mg) – 48.52
Sodium (mg) – 765.49
Fiber (gm) – 4.20
Iron (mg) – 2.54m
Calc. (mg) – 48.16
Vit. A (IU) – 110.25
Vit. C (mg) – 22.74
Protein (gm) – 20.26
Carb. (gm) – 22.39
Tot. Fat (gm) – 8.71
Sat. Fat (gm) – 3.23
Sugars (gm) – 0.01*
Trans. Fat (gm) – 1.19

We are sharing one recipe for every day of NSLW, so stay tuned for more school lunch recipes. Click here for our other featured recipes, and check out the the School Nutrition Association’s NSLW 2015 Toolkit for free handouts, ideas to celebrate NSLW and more!

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Alvord Unified School District (CA) Challenges Childhood Obesity

child nutritionMeals Plus loves to see K-12 school nutrition programs working toward improving the lives of children, especially when it aims to combat childhood obesity. A recent article in The Press-Enterprise highlighted Alvord Unified School District’s efforts to play a more integral role in their student’s health and nutrition.

Alvord USD (CA) has received $1 million in federal grants to teach importance of a balanced diet and exercise in schools.When children are active and eat healthy, research has shown that the student’s success rate in school increases. Currently the Alvord students are struggling to pass the fitness test, but with the new programs this will surely change for the better. Meals Plus is happy to see healthy changes taking place within the Alvord Unified School District!

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Meat/Meat Alternate and Grain Maximums Now More Flexible

Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed and the USDA implemented new final rule standards, food service directors across the country were required to meet daily and weekly minimums and maximums for meal components. This has proved particularly challenging for the Grain and Meat/Meat Alternate components, so earlier this month the USDA released a statement lifting the maximums on those meal components.

As long as the daily and weekly minimums are being met for these components and you are already certified as eligible to the 6 cent reimbursement, there is no need for your School Food Authority to be recertified by a state agency.

For more information, see the official USDA Memo.

Ensuring your meals are meeting the meal pattern requirements doesn’t have to cause headaches! Check out the Meals Plus Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis software programs that can make your job of managing school meals much easier.

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