Success Stories

Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad

Greenville County Schools Go Green with
New Salads

Schoolhouse Greenville County Schools in Greenville, S.C

Eggs-perience Goes a Long Way:

The director of nutrition services for Greenville County Schools is no stranger to the food industry. Joe Urban can draw upon years of experience he gained working in restaurants prior to starting his current position. Urban looks to the culinary world for inspiration. Evidence of this is clear when reviewing the revamped meals served daily to the district’s 76,000-plus students.

“We’re on this crazy mission to completely reinvent school food,” said Urban as quoted in a local newspaper. As a first step towards this goal, he insists the district use only “wholesome products” to develop healthy menu items that serve up great taste along with good nutrition.

That sort of mission has its constraints when the nutrition director must figure out how to offer five tray components; a protein (chicken, hamburger, etc.), grains, two kinds of milk (chocolate and white), a cup of fruit and a cup of vegetables for an average of $2.50 per meal. Yet Urban manages within this budget to serve a wide variety of nutritious yet on-trend meal options, including five new composed salads. Three varieties, the Crispy Chicken, Buffalo Blue Chicken and Cobb salads contain hard-boiled eggs. Even better, the district is willing to share these recipes for other schools to try.

Crispy Chicken Salad

Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad

Cobb Salad

“Eggs are an inexpensive protein,” said Joe Urban. And this low cost means their inclusion as the protein element in a salad helps keep recipe development within budget. Cost alone wasn’t the primary motivator though. “They are a delicious and nutritious high-quality protein that our students love,” continued Urban.

That much is obvious when examining sales of the new composed salads. They’ve already proven themselves a great menu addition. “Composed entrée salad sales are up over 75 percent from last year,” said Urban. “The students love all of them.”

Part of this success might stem from the districts tried and true method of sampling new menu items. (See photo). This allows students the chance to try out the new menu items in sample form before rolling out the full entrée.

Of note, “The Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition” released by the School Nutrition Association states that 71 percent of schools serve composed salads. These pose an eggs-cellent opportunity to add eggs as an inexpensive yet nutritious protein. And composed salads make a fantastic addition to any school’s grab-and-go line.

Don’t assume that eggs only make an appearance in the salad line at lunch. Currently, Greenville offers eggs and other proteins at breakfast every day to all students, with dishes such as Western & Sausage omelets or handheld Egg & Cheese Biscuits.

Greenville showcases just a few ways that eggs—versatile, tasty, nutritious and economical—provide a good source of protein for students in any school system.

Sample day

Success Stories

Breakfast Burrito


Schoolhouse Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Greeley, Colo.

Their Eggcellent Story:

Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Greeley, Colorado is proud to serve Breakfast Burritos (made with local ingredients) to their students once a week. This egg-containing item is, by far, the most popular breakfast entrée served throughout the school district! The Breakfast Burritos are made from scratch in the Nutrition Service Department’s Central Production Kitchen. The potatoes that are utilized to prepare the Ranch Style Hash Brown are locally procured from Leffler Family Farms. The jalapeno and green chili peppers within the Green Chili are also sourced locally from Tigges Farms—both the Ranch Style Hash Brown and the Green Chili are folded into the burritos. These items along with egg, cheese, chorizo sausage and a whole grain tortilla come together perfectly for a top-rated handheld breakfast!

The background on this outstanding district:

Their district is making tremendous strides in serving more locally-sourced produce and meat in school lunches and breakfasts, providing healthier nutrition for students all across the district. In fact, since the farm-to-school program began in earnest, the district now spends 25% of its $4 million annual food budget on locally-grown foods, and produces 75% of its food from scratch – up from just 20% in 2011. This means healthier food with more nutrients and fewer unhealthy additives for students. The district has a 12,000-square-foot central production kitchen, which makes storing and cooking 15,000 meals per day a much easier task. Greeley-Evan’s Jeremy West, School Nutrition Director was named K12 Innovator of the Year 2016 by Food Management.

District Greeley-Evans School District 6, The 13th largest school district in the state of Colorado
Contact Name Kara Sample, RDN, SNS
Title Assistant Director | Nutrition Services
Enrollment 21,183
ADP 18,000 total meals
% Reduced 66%
CEP: Currently not participating in this program
Number of Sites 26 schools plus 8 charter/private schools
Central Kitchen Yes, bulk satellite to each school
Do all schools have kitchens Yes each school has a full kitchen
Total Meals Served 3,428,422 number of meals (breakfast, lunch and snacks) 2015
Twitter D6SchoolLunch
Pinterest d6nutritionservices

Success Stories

Protein Snack

Better Behavior Linked to Protein Snacks? One School Says So

Their Eggcellent Story:

Recently a school district in Iowa published the results of a program called “The Protein Intervention” that substituted protein-based snacks for the carbohydrate-based snacks typically given to hungry students. The selection of protein snacks included hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and yogurt. District staff hypothesized that protein-based snacks with low sugar content might help improve classroom behavior and thereby increase the students’ potential for academic success. Program results appear to support this premise.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Scott County worked closely with one school to test this hypothesis in an area of the district that typically serves high-risk students. During the academic year, the school nurse offered protein-based snacks to students in need and monitored behavioral reports throughout the remaining school day. The Protein Intervention yielded a surprising correlation between the snacks and behavior that could prove beneficial to educators across the country. The report links protein-based snack consumption with improved classroom behavior within an at-risk student population.

Protein Chart

The Need for High-Density Nutrition
The link between breakfast and academic performance, particularly in nutritionally compromised children, is well documented.1 However, little is known about the influence of snacking behavior on school performance. Often, schools stock highly palatable, inexpensive and shelf-stable snacks such as crackers, cereal, granola bars and fruit snacks for students in need. Such foods tend to contain added sugars and few nutrients, which conflicts with current dietary guidance that encourages nutrient-dense foods like produce, nuts and seeds, eggs and low-fat dairy.2

The program stemmed from a hypothesis that children from at-risk homes have elevated levels of cortisol,3 a stress hormone, that may impair the way the body metabolizes carbohydrates and lead to behavioral issues in the classroom. This school-wide intervention project intended to test whether nutrient-dense, protein-based snacks could prove beneficial to the behavior of students from this type of background.

The Protein Intervention
Teachers and staff introduced a pilot project for the 2015-2016 school year called The Protein Intervention and continued with it the following school year. For the program, the school nurse stocked her refrigerator with protein-based, nutrient-dense foods, including hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and yogurt, in lieu of carbohydrate-based snacks. When students complained of a headache, stomachache or hunger, they were offered one of these snacks. The overwhelming majority of students preferred hard-boiled eggs. The nurse took note of the student’s name, snack choice and date and time of the student’s visit.

Referrals for disruptive behavior were also tracked and compared against the snacking data. At the end of the school year, results showed that 89 percent of behavioral referrals occurred on days when a snack was not consumed. This suggests the snacks, which were protein based, encouraged better behavior in the classroom. “We have hypothesized that this staggering difference results from alleviation of hunger with a protein-based, low glycemic index food that offers sustained energy with minimal blood sugar fluctuations,” explained Jennifer Best, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The results of the pilot project were so impressive that other schools have asked to participate in their own Protein Intervention trial. “We believe that with a systematic and sustained effort of offering protein within high-need schools, behavior issues can be reduced, resulting in less time spent out of the classroom and a higher likelihood of academic achievement,” said Best.

Approximately $1,000 will support the costs of the protein-based snacks for one school year at one school. In response to the pilot program’s successful results, the Iowa Egg Council is providing funds to support the program at one school within the area.

“Hard-boiled eggs are the perfect choice for a program like the Protein Intervention. Eggs contain less than one gram of carbohydrate and as such, do not influence blood glucose. In addition, eggs are a nutrient-dense food with one large egg containing six grams of high-quality protein4 and varying levels of 13 vitamins and minerals,” said Tia M. Rains, Ph.D., Executive Director, Egg Nutrition Center, the scientific research arm of the American Egg Board. “We look forward to results from other schools implementing the protein intervention program with their students to see if similar benefits are observed.” 

To read and download the Protein Intervention press release click here

1. Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr Res Rev2009;22:220–43.

2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at

3. Association for Psychological Science. (2010, January 21). Low socioeconomic status affects cortisol levels in children over time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 6, 2017 from

4. Campbell B et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sport Nutr. 2007;4:8

Success Stories

Greenville County Schools Go Green with New Salads

The director of nutrition services for Greenville County Schools is no stranger to the food industry. Joe Urban can draw upon years of experience he gained...

See full story Download 3 recipes

Better Behavior Linked to Protein Snacks? One School Says So

Recently a school district in Iowa published the results of a year-long program called “The Protein Intervention” that substituted protein-based snacks for the carbohydrate-based snacks typically given to hungry students...

See full story

Farm to School Eggs & Chef’s Partner with Local Schools

Kittery School District in Kittery, Maine - Small but mighty, this Maine district offers programs and events regularly throughout the year, connecting students with the community and local agriculture. As a result, students love the school gardens and are eager to...

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Creating Egg-centric Recipes, One Crack at a Time

Lakeside Union School District, San Diego, California - Lakeside Union School District is always experimenting with new and creative ways to meet school nutrition requirements without sacrificing quality and taste. This year, Sally Spero, Child Nutrition Director at...

See full story Download recipe


Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Greeley, Colo. - is proud to serve Breakfast Burritos (made with local ingredients) to their students once a week. This egg-containing item is, by far, the most popular breakfast entrée served throughout the school district...

See full story Download recipe

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