In May, a pilot program was approved for seven schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District after vegan students requested the menu include plant-based options. The pilot program began the day after Labor Day, and continues through November 17, according to news reports. North Hollywood High School is one of the schools participating in the pilot program. Others include Theodore Roosevelt High School, Fairfax High School, Phineas Banning High School, Crenshaw High School, Sylmar High School and Huntington Park High School.
While LAUSD already offered a daily vegetarian meal and meatless Monday, the district felt it was time to accommodate all of the students, including those who are vegan and don’t eat meat. More than 1.5 million meals are served each year by the school district, the second-largest in the U.S. Ivy Marx, LAUSD Nutrition Specialist, said that sourcing animal-free food that the kids find tasty was a challenge. As with any other types of foods, vegan options aren’t always delicious and it was important to find options the kids would enjoy eating.
Some of the vegan options now offered at the seven schools include vegetarian chili with tortilla chips, a “range-free” veggie burger, Italian “sausage” (soy) sub, bean tamale, and teriyaki veggie sandwich. Soy milk is also available, along with menu items for students who are soy intolerant including fruit, veggie sides, and salads.
The pilot program is an effort to satisfy the food needs of all students, with the district coming up with vegan options the kids like. Students who are vegans have been assigned the task of providing feedback so schools know what options to include on the menu once the program comes to an end on November 17.
As a contract foodservices company catering to K-12 and university/college clients, we understand the menu items today must be as diverse as the students to satisfy not only tastes but beliefs. Some are animal rights activists who will not eat meat; others want foods that are locally sourced, and some are vegetarians who prefer to stick to vegetables, fish, and dairy. In today’s educational arena, serving up a choice between pizza, a burger, or chicken nuggets isn’t enough.
Student foodservices is changing, and in a big way. For all of your K-12 student dining services, count on Gourmet Services, Inc. to go beyond your expectations in terms of quality, freshness, service, and more. We aren’t your average foodservice management company!