Farm to School — Tools for Schools
Menu Planning  Minimize 

When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, Texas offers a large selection of options all year long. With new federal meal pattern requirements in place ensuring students are offered fruits and vegetables in a range of colors each week, Texas is ripe for the picking as a source for healthful eating.

These resources, along with our regional produce availability tool, will help you plan your menu around seasonally available items.


Fruits and Vegetables Galore
This guide, developed by USDA’s Team Nutrition, offers tips on purchasing, presenting and promoting the fruits and vegetables used in your school nutrition program. Use this tool to help make your daily meal offerings competitive with commercial options available to students and get students excited about eating healthy. 

Food Buying Guide
This online version of USDA’s Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs was designed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) in collaboration with USDA. The calculator tool will help you or your purchasing agent buy the right amount of food and help you determine the specific contribution each food item will make toward meeting the meal pattern requirements.    

Chefs Move to Schools
The Chefs Move to Schools program, founded in May 2010, partners the creativity and culinary expertise of chefs with the unique demands found in school cafeterias. The goal is to ensure that America's future generations grow up healthy.

Additional resources can be found on USDA’s Farm to School Web pages.


Cooking for the Seasons - Summer  Minimize 
TDA’s Cooking for the Seasons — Summer cookbook includes menu-ready recipes focused on fresh produce available in Texas during the summer months. Recipes are tailored to child nutrition programs and can be incorporated into a seasonal cycle menu or weekly menus. 

All of the recipes have been tested up to 25 servings and analyzed for nutritional value. Nutrient analysis was conducted using the child nutrition database approved by USDA. Nutrient analysis is required in the school meal program. 

Education Service Center chefs at regions 10, 12, and 13 created the recipes to help child nutrition professionals use more local foods in meals and snacks.

Sample School Menus Featuring Texas Products  Minimize 
Child nutrition directors across Texas combined creativity and local products to introduce students to farm fresh foods during the October 2015 Local Products Challenge. These sample menus can inspire you to incorporate and highlight the Lone Star State’s bounty in your school menus.  

KIPP Austin Public Schools, Austin
KIPP kept it light and fresh with different lunch menu themes throughout October. They featured cabbage and whole grain wraps from Texas in a menu inspired by Mexican cuisine as well as another menu with an Asian flavor. The flexibility of Texas ingredients makes them a worldwide favorite.
KIPP Austin Public Schools Sample Menu 

Pflugerville ISD

Pflugerville discovered creative ways to use Texas produce in familiar favorites such as eggplant parmesan as well as exciting dishes new to many students like watermelon mint salad and marinated mushrooms.
Pflugerville ISD Sample Menu

Karnack ISD
Karnack elementary used local chicken to create a delicious home-style meal featuring mashed potatoes and gravy. Also, their sweet potato salad showed that anybody can stretch their budget by turning a seasonal vegetable like local sweet potatoes into a tasty salad!
Karnack ISD Sample Menu

Northeast ISD, San Antonio
At Northeast ISD students could enjoy products from Texas farms and ranches in two entrees and most of the sides. The entree choices were local barbecue chicken bites and baked potato with cheese. The tasty lunch was rounded out with local products including homemade roll, tossed salad and vegetable medley. 
Northeast ISD Sample Menu

Austin ISD
Throughout October Austin ISD featured Texas-made whole wheat breads and buns for its sandwiches and burgers. Fresh fruits and vegetables from local Texas farms also appeared on menus to ensure students could “Fuel Up to Play 60” all month long.
Austin ISD Sample Menu

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
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