Students Love Soyfoods
These schools have incorporated soyfoods such as tofu, veggie burgers, soybeans, edamame, textured vegetable protein and other soy products into everyday meal offerings as a part of the National School Lunch Program. Students of all ages are raving about the delicious and healthy lunches made with soyfoods.
Soyfoods are rich in the nutrients kids need and offer a way for school food service programs to tackle nutrition while never diminishing taste. Soyfood options for vending machines and a la carte lines allow for a greater variety of products to be offered to students.
The Active Learning Elementary School (TALES) – PS 244 is a pre-K to 3rd school with 400 students located in Flushing, Queens. It was founded in 2008 on a vision of health and nutrition, is the first public school in the nation to serve a healthy plant-based lunch every day. Students really enjoy the menu that features soyfoods like: roasted organic tofu with Asian sesame sauce, veggie tofu wraps, and roasted organic tofu with cacciatore sauce. Throughout the school’s curriculum students are taught how to make healthy choices, and they know soyfoods fit perfectly into a healthy diet.
Click here to see the school’s current lunch menu.
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County Public School District is the 16th largest school district in the United States and is also one of the most ethnically diverse districts. The District serves about 13.1 million meals a year that increasing must meet diverse pallets and preferences, while maintaining health and nutrition.
Faced with this complex problem, Montgomery County School Food Service participated in a study to experiment with soyfoods in school meals. A plate waste study, published in the Journal of School Health, took popular menu items, including macaroni & cheese, burgers, chicken nuggets, and chicken Caesar salad, and replaced them with soyfoods. Soy pasta was used in the macaroni and cheese, soy burgers and a spicy black bean burger replaced meat burgers, veggie chik’n nuggets substituted for chicken nuggets, and veggie chik’n was used in the Caesar salad. Kids ate just as much of the soyfoods as they did of traditional menu items — indicating a high acceptability of soyfoods.
The study was such a success that Montgomery County School Food Service replaced a couple of its menu items with soyfoods despite slightly higher costs. Since the study was conducted, more soyfoods menu items have been added to the meal options and the county has even adapted Meatless Mondays to its weekly menu planning.
Gwinnett County, Georgia
Gwinnett County Public Schools, located in the metro Atlanta area, is the largest school system in Georgia and continues to grow. The school district anticipates it will serve nearly 161,000 students in the 2010-11 school year. In order to provide healthier options to students, Gwinnett County Public Schools offer a meat-free meal option every day at all 119 school sites. The district has served close to one million soy-based meal options this year alone. Not only are kids willing to eat soyfoods, but kids are clearly asking for more!
Have your own success story about using soyfoods in school meals, vending machines, or a la carte lines? Share it with use at firstname.lastname@example.org.