From the line: Dishing up successful meal strategies @ Waltham Public Schools

Part Two – Bowls Boost ADP & Hard-Boiled Ideas

This is Part Two of our Eggs In Schools Q&A with April Liles, R.D., S.N.S., and her incredible school nutrition program in the Waltham Public Schools in Waltham, Mass. (#Gohawks!)

Part One: Setting a Program Philosophy and Reaching Your Goals


Eggs In Schools: What made you start serving ‘bowls’ at breakfast? How receptive have students been to bowled items?

April: Bowls are BOOMING right now. If you put it in a bowl, the recipe is magically transformed. My kids are totally loving anything in a bowl this year. I have several recipes where I did not change one ingredient at all, but just put the food into a bowl instead of in a square compartment on a tray and POOF – ADP spikes. Examples include: Southwestern Egg Bowl (replacing meats with eggs with a southwestern/Mexican flavor profile and toppings), Breakfast Skillet Bowl (starting with tots or potatoes and adding eggs, and toppings to include meats, vegetables, even sauces like fresh salsa, guacamole), Ramen Bowls, Quinoa Bowls, and even the Smoothie Bowl for the breakfast concept. I have even tried just putting spaghetti and meatballs in a bowl rather than on a tray – kids really like it, and there are a ton of options for bowls out there ranging in price, based on the quality you desire.


Eggs In Schools: Let’s talk about your use of hard-boiled eggs (HBEs). How do you use HBEs at breakfast?

April: Yes, we serve HBEs as EggPops for breakfast. We also serve them sliced in half with a choice of whole grain item. Additionally, we have offered HBEs with flavor stations, which involves adding salt-less spice shakers on the line.


Eggs In Schools: At other times of day?

April: Yes, for our Grab-N-Go Meals or we call them Power Packs. They are so on-trend right now – the protein box, bento box, power pack, really whatever you want to call it. Basically, it’s a grab-n-go meal-in-a-box. The kids love these, and also our school faculty go nuts over these. I can even charge upwards of $4.50 for the adult meal price and comparably speaking, that’s affordable when you look at what establishments like Starbucks are charging.


Eggs In Schools: What components do you add?

April: We add all the major meal components minus the milk. The hard-boiled egg is an easy protein to add to these boxes. Here in Waltham, to be sure all component requirements are being met, we have a customizable cheat sheet for building these out. This gives my staff flexibility to utilize inventory and showcase student preferences at specific schools. It just lists the four components (grain, protein, fruit, veg) and then lists common ingredients from most kitchens to finalize. It’s a cheat sheet!  Also – the American Egg Board has amazing references on their website, and here is a sample of the Protein Box Inspiration info available in their toolkit.


Eggs In Schools: Do different combos appeal to different age groups?

April: The younger kids like more finger foods, whereas the older kids/adults prefer a chicken salad/egg salad/tuna salad/hummus for dipping things like naan, pita and crackers.


Eggs In Schools: Do you offer different flavorings to different aged students?

April: Yes, I would say we offer more mild flavors to the K-2 group of students, but as they get a bit older, we start to introduce more bold, spicy and ethnic flavors to recipes.


The Q&A will continue with a look at other service ideas. Watch for the next installment with more of April’s thoughts on how to energize your school nutrition program and how eggs can contribute to its success.

Next up: Avoid Menu Fatigue & Create a Flavor Adventure

Read Part One: Setting a Program Philosophy and Reaching Your Goals

To listen to the SNA “Protein Power” Webinar, which is the inspiration for this Q&A, GO!


2018-03-06 14:05:53