Escondido (CA) High School District has seen significant jumps in student participation, along with reduced food costs, since going to a from-scratch cooking approach three years ago, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Lunches now average around 3,000 a day, a 360 percent increase from 2006-07, while breakfast participation has grown about 270 percent, to about 2,000 a day, over the same period. Meanwhile, labor and food costs decreased $140,000 in the first year of the new program, and the district saved another $80,000 last year.
Except for tortillas and pizza (which are made by an outside vendor using low-fat ingredients and district recipes), all meals are made onsite using fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, whole-grain flour and low-fat cheeses. Lunch selections include rice bowls and grilled chicken tacos while breakfast choices include homemade muffins, breakfast burritos and sandwiches and even a “skillet scramble” of eggs, potatoes and cheese.