Recently I attended the School Nutrition Association conference here in Denver. I wrote about it here, School Lunches, What are your kids really eating? I was super impressed to find out all of the healthy options and new regulations to make school lunches as nutritious as possible. My middle boy, Carter, hates to bring in a sack lunch, so I rely on the schools to make sure he’s getting a meal that is balanced, nutritious and tastes great so he’ll want to finish it all.

Now the SNA has introduced Tray Talk. An informative site to help both parents and school officials come together to share as much information about what kids are eating as possible. They have hot topics like, School Cafeterias Find Creative Ways to Meet Healthy New School Meal Standards where I learned over 55% of responding school districts offer self-serve salad or produce bars. For students in a hurry, more schools are providing convenient grab-and-go options. Nearly 64% of districts offer pre-packaged salads and 67% offer packaged produce, like bags of baby carrots, grapes and sliced apples that students can eat on the run or toss in their backpacks for later.

They also share recipes! The black bean salad looks amazing! Click here for the recipe! 🙂

They even have success stories you can read to show what is going on in your area. Take Colorado for example (duh, ’cause we live here right?!). Douglas County school district got the parents and students involved in it’s menu planning and improvements.


Colorado Schools Get Students and Parents Involved in Menu Improvements

Posted on 03/28/2012

Parents and students play a big role in the school lunch menu selection process in Douglas County School District, Colorado. Recently, the Nutrition Services Department hosted its first annual “For Kids By Kids” Open House where over 400 guests tasted and evaluated a variety of healthy food items from the school lunch menu. The event gave parents a chance to see what school lunch is all about, ask questions, and share their thoughts on the foods their kids eat at school.

Parent Shannon Price-Vieira, commented, “My daughter was giddy with excitement going booth to booth to sample her fav’s and also try new ideas. She loved the veggie balsamic pizza and the lemon poppy seed muffins… I want to thank you for making students and their parents feel as though we are an important aspect to the future of nutrition in our schools, and caring about our thoughts and feedback. Keep up the good work; change is good.”

Through “For Kids By Kids,” students and parents are helping the district identify foods that kids love and that meet high standards for health and nutrition. In addition to the Open House, the initiative includes taste testing, mobile voting, chef demonstrations and student recipe development.

To learn more, visit the Nutrition Services Department Facebook, and check out the video below from a recent student taste test:



Go ahead an check out the Tray Talk site and find out how you can get more involved in what kids are eating at school! Like their facebook page for more updates as well.


disclosure:  I was brought in and compensated to attend the SNA conference. All opinions are mine and honest.



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Emily is a mom to three very active boys. Her youngest is autistic so she is passionate about advocating for children and families on the spectrum. She attends more concerts than is humanly possible and takes some pretty amazingly blurry photos of said shows to prove she was there. Also, #hashtags are her favorite. #totes #noreally