Keeping students full, focused, and participating is a daily challenge for many K-12 cafeteria operators. Finding the right mix of nutritious food that tastes good while balancing labor shortages and tight budgets, and competing with off-campus meals requires quick thinking and creative planning. But with the right tools and inspiration, you can handle anything.
Caring for students’ nutrition is your top priority, and we have your back every step of the way. General Mills Foodservice is here to help with new and exciting products, tasty recipes, and clever solutions that keep students excited and involved. Discover four ways to keep the wheels in your cafeteria moving with ideas straight from our innovation kitchen.
Face the day’s challenges with these tips built to improve foodservice operations.
Staffing woes: When your team is stretched thin, it’s time to maximize with time-saving simple solutions. Consider easy to execute, low-prep options that reduce the workload, while delivering nutritious meals. Here’s an easy fix: yogurt parfaits and smoothies. Not only is it delicious, but our new Reduced Sugar Yoplait® ParfaitPro® Yogurt (available in January 2024) comes in easy-to-pour 64-ounce pouches that are a breeze to use. Give students a spin on bubble tea using our recipe for Yoba Tea. Check out our guide to blenderless smoothies for more ideas on how to shake things up.
Reducing waste: Lead by example for your students and help the environment by minimizing kitchen waste where you can. Not only will you save valuable time and money, but you will also be doing your part to protect the environment. Efficiency is key when trying to minimize waste and the need for flexible products that are perfect for multitasking is real. Make the most of what's on hand and reduce waste using our multipurpose menu planning resources, offering smart ways to keep menus interesting while meeting changing guidelines.
Off-campus option creep: Competing with off-campus dining options demands flavorful, on-trend menus that turn heads. Exciting new products, like the New! Reduced Sugar Yoplait® ParfaitPro® Yogurt, Pillsbury™ Frozen Mini Cinnis Caramel, CinnaFuego Toast Crunch™ 1G Cereal Bar, Reduced Sugar Cocoa Puffs™ 2OEG and Bowlpak, keep you equipped with trending flavors and formats that students love.
Keeping them excited: Building excitement around school meals requires teamwork. Bring kids into the decision-making process and give them a choice in their day by hosting contests or conducting taste tests to engage students and gather their input. It's essential to listen to their preferences and integrate their feedback into your school menus. When students feel like they have a say, they're more likely to participate in school mealtimes. Versatile products like our recipe for Muffin Dunkers that pairs muffin-top mini biscotti with Yoplait® ParfaitPro® yogurt for a crunchy, creamy snack. Or try the easy-peasy Apple Cobbler Overnight Oats that requires no baking at all!
The role of a K-12 operator is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right tools and support, it can also be incredibly rewarding. By including innovative products and recipes, and involving students along the way, you can ensure that students are full, focused, and fueled for their day.
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