Metz Culinary Management Inc. is introducing some new menu offerings that expand on the company’s plant-forward philosophy, coupled with programs designed to raise nutrition awareness among students, for the 2022-23 school year for its K-12 school clients. The company believes that having featured healthy dining options helps students feel better all day, get stronger and excel in the classroom and sports.
However, without the expanded federal funding that supported free school lunches over the last two years, schools are returning to paid lunches this year, so enticing and delicious meals that draw in students and display the value of the school lunch are more important than ever, notes Senior Vice President Jim Dickson.
“While we want to move students toward healthier eating, we recognize that it is important to meet them where they are in terms of their wants and needs,” he says. “Our team has developed a number of creative, plant-based breakfast and lunch offerings that follow the latest culinary trends.”
Photo: A poster promoting the Metz Nutritious Friends program, which features a fruit or vegetable of the month such as “Ghostly Guava” and introduces K-6 students to foods they may not have tried before.
Photo credit: Metz Culinary Management
To meet the challenge, the company is introducing creations that include healthier versions of familiar foods kids like and are expected to try. They include…
• Country-fried cauliflower steaks
• Roasted portabella mushroom Reuben sandwich
• Vegetarian mac and cheese
• Smokey, vegan three bean chili
• Spiral zucchini that replaces carb-heavy noodles in a pasta dish
• Gluten-free black bean brownies
Furthermore, many of Metz’ school clients are set up with food courts rather than traditional cafeterias, which are ideal for offering variety such as vegan, vegetarian and ethnic options that are attractive to today’s students.
In addition to the new menu choices, Metz is partnering with schools for special events designed to make healthy eating fun while educating students about the benefits of good nutrition. These events include…
• Veg Fest, a week-long festival held in October that unveils exciting plant-based food options
• Nutritious Friends that feature a fruit or vegetable of the month such as “Ghostly Guava” and introduce K-6 students to foods they may not have tried before
• Craveables, a healthier version of the popular convenient lunch packs created for grades K-6 and 7-12 that meet school nutritional standards
• Tasting events with plant-forward meals like eggplant parmesan sandwiches for 7-12 grade students
• Classroom nutrition education that addresses the importance of balanced meals based on the USDA’s MyPlate food guide.