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Blending Up Success with School Meals

By
Sommer Purvis,   Albany High School
Play:
Breakfast For Everyone — First Meal Matters
Topics:
Community Involvement
Blending Up Success with School Meals
In August 2018, we incorporated smoothies into our breakfast menu at Denham Springs High School three days a week. The Grab and Go breakfast option was a big hit with our students. This provided us an opportunity to collaborate with our ProStart culinary students and develop new smoothie recipes. The Grab and Go style meal service was so popular that administrators agreed to transition to a Breakfast in the Classroom program in January 2019. Since the implantation of smoothies at breakfast and breakfast in the classroom, we have increased breakfast participation by 30 percent. In addition to adding smoothies to our breakfast menu, our Blender Bike has allowed us to promote our program at school and community events throughout the District. The Blender Bike is used as a promotional tool to help increase participation at our schools, build relationships between child nutrition staff and students, as well as educating community partners on the benefits of living a physically active lifestyle, healthy eating habits and the many programs that Child Nutrition provides students during the school day.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

We utilized funding to purchase equipment that will allow us to sustain offering smoothies at meal service in the future. Our collaboration with students on smoothie flavors prevents menu fatigue and gives the students buy-in for the program. Using the Blender Bike as a marketing tool promotes our program and provides an avenue to expand meal services to our students, such as after school meals and non-traditional breakfast service.

How did you accomplish your goals?

Adding smoothies to our breakfast menu increased participation and made breakfast more convenient. Using culinary students to develop smoothie recipes helped ptomote student buy-in. The Blender Bike has provided opportunities for us to promote our program and the importance of physical activity and the value of a balanced diet including protein and dairy. The Blender Bike has also helped us reach outside or our school gates and share our mission in the communities we serve.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Our greatest challenge with the Blender Bike is transportation and scheduling. After our kickoff, several schools requested the bike. However, with 43 schools, we had to establish criteria so the Blender Bike could best serve our purpose. The criteria included the number of students reached and preference was provided to schools participating in alternative breakfast models, and after school meals. Using our District Warehouse, we are able to transport the bike prior to events.