Miami Trace food service director, Gary Campbell, recently discussed the success of a new addition to the menu for students.
Beginning in the early spring at the middle and high schools, Campbell and the food program began selling smoothies to offer students a healthy alternative to pop and a great supplement to meals already offered. They have been offering smoothies to students twice a week at breakfast and at lunch on the a la carte line.
“We thought the students would like it, but had no idea that it would have the success we have seen,” Campbell said. “We offer them Tuesday and Thursday at both schools on the breakfast program which is a smoothie, graham cracker, juice or milk for $1.25 and for students on the reduced lunch program it costs 30 cents. So this is a great deal for a very nutritious meal.”
The school district recently received a letter of commendation from the American Dairy Association.
The smoothies contain four ounces of fruit and four ounces of yogurt parfait. The cafeteria workers then use a blender that whips them into the smoothie blend. The schools offer four flavors currently; strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry and apple pie, with strawberry being the most popular.
“At my year end report to the board, I was able to show them that we had a very good year with meal participation, as our year end meal numbers were up over 16,000 meals over last year,” Campbell said. “Of course, we struggle with the federal meal regulations that all schools have to comply with but we try and offer new and appetizing choices to offset the mandate that we must comply with. We have been told by General Mills that the Miami Trace school smoothie program will be featured in a nationwide magazine, Foodservice Director, and featured in their K-12 section of the magazine.”
The school has also seen success in the breakfast meals. In fact, breakfast participation has increased by 100 meals a day at the high school and similar increases have been seen at the middle school. Additionally, smoothies have created incremental sales and they have not taken any sales away from the meal line according to the director. Campbell said that students are now choosing to purchase the smoothies in lieu of sodas from vending machines.
“The smoothie program was part of the changes we have made, but other changes such as when we serve a sandwich, we now offer a topping bar consisting of fresh lettuce, pickles, onions, salsas and tomatoes, and more,” Campbell said. “We also have added a baked potato bar with fresh toppings offered for the students to use. We do these for the regular school meal and a la carte. The students really enjoy them. We are looking forward to next school year and constantly improving our program.”