Planning meals a large undertaking for Spokane Public Schools
Spokane Public Schools serves around 4 million meals each school year. That’s 17,000 lunches, 1,200 snacks and 6,700 breakfasts – every day.
Those millions of meals equate to tens of thousands of pounds of fruit, vegetables, grains and meat ordered by the district annually, according to the district’s nutrition services department.
To make sure everyone eats, food is ordered two months in advance based on a five-week menu cycle, said Doug Wordell, nutrition services director.
“We have such a large volume, we can’t just say, run down to the store to buy 100 cases of food,” he said. “When we had that terrible winter in the East, trucks bringing beef or chicken got stuck. So we had to change the menu.”
He added, “It’s like a big family process. You plan for a meal. You shop and hope you have enough storage. We just have a bigger shopping list.”
Wordell thinks the list will be at least 2 percent longer this school year because of growing enrollment – an estimated 29,500 students.
The nutrition services department also continues to make changes to its menu to comply with new government standards passed in 2010, which include reducing calories, serving more fruits and vegetables, and cutting sodium.
“We revamped our menus,” Wordell said. “We rewrote 200 recipes this summer to make sure we were doing what’s right for kids.”