This month, Chartwells K12 began rolling out its Smoothie Station concept at the 140+ schools where it operates. Featuring healthy, wholesome, drinkable breakfast, lunch and snack options filled with fruits and dairy in more than a dozen flavor combinations, the concept is designed to stay on-trend with commercial smoothie restaurants with a variety of flavor combinations for traditional smoothies as well as new smoothie bowls that students can customize with various fruit and grain toppings.
"Smoothies were the leading beverage added to restaurant menus last year, and we're tapping into that interest and excitement by bringing them straight to the school cafeteria," said Chartwells K12 CEO Belinda Oakley in the concept launch announcement. "With our new Smoothie Station concept, we took insights heard directly from students and created a way to offer a delicious, on-the-go meal to help kids power through their day."
Each smoothie contains at least one serving of fruit and dairy, designed to provide students with a healthy beverage as part of their breakfast or lunch options.
"Smoothies offer the unique benefit of providing multiple meal components that students can drink in the cafeteria or easily take with them," notes Lindsey Palmer, MBA, MS, RDN, VP, Nutrition and Industry Relations. "They also provide a great opportunity for kids to consume more yogurt, milk, and fruits, including new combinations they may not have tried before."
Developed by Chartwells chefs and dietitians in partnership with General Mills, Smoothie Station recipes range from the popular Strawberry Banana Smoothie to more unique, adventurous combinations like those in the creamy Avocado Kale Mango or Mango Chili Lime smoothies, with additional options like Mixed Berry and Strawberry Oat.
"In developing the smoothie concept, it was important for us to offer students familiar, well-loved smoothie recipes along with flavor profiles that may be new to them," says Chef Peter Gilhooly, Vice President – Culinary, Chartwells K12. "Smoothie Station is our latest cafeteria concept where we're making sure kids have a variety of choices available and a chance to discover something new."
Chartwells K12 is partnering with National Dairy Council, General Mills, and Hubert to launch the Smoothie Station concept, with schools participating in the pilot program receiving a Smoothie Station kit provided by National Dairy Council through food service equipment manufacturer Hubert that includes a Waring commercial immersion blender, insulated cooler bags to hold prepared smoothies and a transport cart.
Here are some of the smoothie creations that are part of the concept…