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YUHSD student nutrition department continues to add new menu options

In an effort to encourage more students to eat breakfast and lunch at school, the Yuma Union High School District student nutrition department has made a variety of additions to its menu for the 2019-2020 school year.

Some of the new items include: Large cereal bowls, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, turkey Panini melts, meatball subs, spaghetti, rolled tacos, new fries and potato wedges, fruit cups and much more. Student takes chili cheese fries

Student Nutrition Director Grace Pruit, who is entering her second year in the role, prioritized upgrading some of the menu options last year when more than two dozen items were added to the menu. Many of those items, such as the Buffalo chicken wrap and the chili cheese fries, quickly became favorites among the student population on each campus. In some cases more than 20,000 such meals were served in a given month.

“Our focus for the start of the year is on the quality of our subs by adding new subs, sandwiches, melts, and Paninis, as well as improving the bread quality,” Pruit said. “All these items were added based on the student requests from our survey in January.”

Some new menu items like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some cereals include peanuts or other nuts. Pruit said her department and staff at each campus have taken strict measures to make sure students who have nut allergies are safe. They implemented an industry standard red-dot system which indicates that an item includes nuts. Each serving station has labels signaling what items include nuts and have had additional cross-contamination safety training for all staff members who handle food. Furthermore, as an additional safety precaution, some campuses have discussed implementing so-called “nut-free tables” available for students to dine.

“It’s been an item that students have indicated that they like,” Pruit said. “It’s something they had in middle school and there are definitely nutritional benefits, such as protein, potassium, fiber and iron, to offering peanut butter and nut mixes as part of our menus. Our students are still growing and developing and some of those nutrients are vital.”

All six YUHSD campuses offer no cost breakfast and lunch to all students, something that has been in place since 2017-2018.

“Statics confirm that students with proper nutrition perform better in the classroom,” Pruit added. “Having the ability to offer meals at no cost to every student is important to the success of our students. Providing breakfast, lunch, and afterschool snacks at no cost allows Yuma Union High School District students the opportunity to focus on their academics and not worrying about meals during the school day.”

Here is a complete list of new menu items added since the start of last school year:

2019/2020 New Menu Items

Breakfast

Large Cereal Bowls

GF Cereals

Lunch

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Turkey Panini Melt

Meatball Sub

Spaghetti

Turkey Club

Rolled Tacos

French Bread Subs

New Fries and Potato Wedges

Fruit Cups

GF Chicken Tenders

2018/2019 New Menu Items

Breakfast

Chorizo and Egg Burrito

Granola Bars

Mini Cinnis Roll

Bagel with Nutella

Go Big Strawberry Yogurt

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

YoGo Coffee Coolers

Protein Breakfast Box

Cocoa Puffs Filled Bar

Cinnamon Toast Filled Bar

Lunch

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wrap

Chili Cheese Fries

Chicken Alfredo

Loaded Baked Potato

Macaroni & Cheese

Italian Sub

Shredded Turkey Taco

Chicken Parmesan

Cheese Enchiladas with Red or Green Sauce

Stuffed Crust Pizza

Chicken Tendors

Raspberry Vinaigrette Chicken Salad

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

BLT Chicken Caesar Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Southwestern Salad

Taco Salad

No cost lunch and breakfast sign

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org