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National School Lunch Week

Texas Students Celebrate this Year’s National School Lunch Week with the Theme “Take a Texas-Size Taste Tour”

Across Texas, National School Lunch Week (NSLW) and the Texas Department of Agriculture's Local Products Challenge created excitement about school meals. As they come in, success stories from the 2013 NSLW will be featured below. Please send NSLW success stories to Christy.Denman2@TexasAgriculture.gov.

Anthony ISD Lassoes a Texas-Size Celebration


Anthony ISD took on the Anthony ISD Texas display for National School Lunch WeekTexas-size challenge and celebrated National School Lunch the entire week of October 14-18. The district featured at least three Texas grown products daily as part of Take a Texas-size Taste Tour and the Local Products Challenge. The Child Nutrition department teamed up with campus staff and faculty and had activities for students on a daily basis.


Wednesday was the highlight of the week when local celebrities were lassoed in to make the celebration even more memorable. Cafeteria staff, students, and teachers were all encouraged to wear western attire to show their Texan style. A booth displayed Texas grown products from local farmers.

Fresh vegetables for NSLW at Anthony ISDThe Town of Anthony wheeled in a trailer decorated with hay stacks, saddles and a variety of banners from local farmers. An outside barbecue setting was assembled where cafeteria staff served healthy reimbursable meals to students as country music played in the background. The outside patio tables were decorated with lone star color stars and cowboy silhouettes!


Numerous special guests attended including Anthony Mayor Lee Vela. Campus Principal Oscar Troncoso was present during the entire even and cheered lasso activities. The celebration was a complete success! A story about the Saddle at Anthony ISD for NSLWevent  was even featured in the West Texas County Courier. The support of the community, parents, staff and local dignitaries helped make the experience flawless.

Posted December 6, 2013

Raymondville ISD Students Extend NSLW Celebration by Decorating Texas Grown Pumpkins


Raymondville ISD (RISD) celebrated Raymondville ISD pumpkin contest chefNational School Lunch Week (NSLW), October 14-18, by offering locally grown products and products produced in Texas such as watermelons, grapefruits, oranges, corn tortillas, noodles and a variety of milk.

Pumpkin photo ChefTo generate excitement and awareness, RISD featured the NSLW menu on its Child Nutrition website identifying each product grown and produced in Texas by identifying them with a Texas map emblem.

Parents were invited to join their students for lunch during NSLW. Daily NSLW announcements were initiated Friday October 11, 2013 at all campuses. Elementary and middle school coaches assisted in the celebration by utilizing the NSLW suggested activities designed to show students that exercising is fun and easy and help them envision future success.

RISD Child Nutrition Service continuedPumpkin pic RISD Yankees the locally grown product awareness through October by holding a Healthy Pumpkin decorating contest with Texas grown pumpkins. Elementary, middle school and high school students participated in the pumpkin decorating contest. The purpose of the contest was to remind students in a fun way of the importance of healthy foods and physical activity. The pumpkins were decorated with health themes such as nutritious foods, fruits, vegetables, sports and exercise.

Posted December 5, 2013

Round Rock ISD Features Tasty Texas Foods for NSLW


Round Rock ISD’s food service department celebrated National School Lunch Week (NSLW) by participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) inaugural Local Products Challenge.

To fulfill their Local Products Challenge pledge, the food service team focused on the district’s 33 elementary cafeterias which offered an average of three locally grown or produced items each day during NSLW. Some of the local products included tomatoes, watermelon, baby carrots, cucumber, oranges and grapefruit. Also, the milk offered every day throughout the school year comes from Texas cows and is produced in Austin.

TDA’s Local Products Challenge was created to recognize that October is National Farm to School Month. Round Rock ISD’s participation was timely because it is currently working to enhance its farm to school efforts. An important part of serving local products during NSLW was reaching out to produce vendors to determine what local items would be seasonally available.

To generate enthusiasm and awareness for the Local Products Challenge and NSLW, Round Rock ISD communicated with parents through eNews and Twitter. TDA’s NSLW morning announcement scripts were sent to the elementary campuses to create student awareness for NSLW.

Harlingen CISD Shines During National School Lunch Week


Promoting locally grown and produced Harlingen CISD star fruitproducts has been a goal for Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District for many years. When the Texas Department of Agriculture announced its Local Products Challenge during National School Lunch Week 2013, October  14-18, Harlingen CISD eagerly accepted the challenge and began editing menus to accommodate more Texas products during the special week.

Located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen is uniquely situated to capitalize on the area's wealth of agricultural production. Star fruit from River's End Nursery in Bayview was literally the "shining star" of National School Lunch Week at HCISD. A special relationship with River's End was cultivated through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and expanded to meet the Local Products Challenge. Each of the district's 18,000 students was introduced to the Texas star fruit as a garnish atop fresh strawberries and grapes.

Texas citrus is grown throughout the Rio Grande Valley, making serving up fresh oranges and grapefruit a breeze. Each day during National School Lunch Week, all 27 of the district's cafeterias served Texas oranges grown just 45 minutes from their back doors and HCISD is proud to announce that the first Texas grapefruit harvest for the season went straight from the grove to Harlingen cafeterias on October 16.

To round out the "Texas-Size Taste Tour" Harlingen CISD served milk from El Paso, tortillas from Edinburg, tortilla chips and taco shells from Dallas, and watermelon from Brownfield. Each campus read announcements and displayed posters provided by TDA. Elementary students participating in school lunch were given promotional items such as bookmarks, pencils, "Health Nut Glasses," and magnetic picture frames.

All the excitement surrounding the "Texas-Size Taste Tour" at Harlingen CISD was captured on the district's Facebook page. Each day a different TDA designed graphic was displayed and the Texas products served that day were highlighted.

The Local Products Challenge proved to be just that for Harlingen CISD. When produce was delivered to each school on the Friday prior to National School Lunch Week, the Harlingen CISD child nutrition administration quickly realized that the Texas menu items planned were not delivered due to availability and seasonality. The department quickly called on partners Nicho Produce and River's End Nursery and they were able to scramble for alternate Texas grown produce. The result was the first grapefruit harvest of the season was delivered to HCISD.  The dedication to the Local Products Challenge created a positive buzz around the district and community and has encouraged HCISD to continue serving Texas produce and products.

Photo: Harlingen CISD served locally grown star fruit and citrus with strawberries and grapes during National School Lunch Week. 

Posted October 30, 2013


Special Guests Serve Up NSLW Fun at North East ISD


For many years, NEISD Nutrition StaffNorth East ISD in San Antonio has taken one day during National School Lunch Week to invite guest servers to work behind the cafeteria line at schools throughout the district. This year was especially fun for the servers, including the Board of Trustees, Superintendent Brian Gottardy and other district leaders, because they got to wear cowboy hats and red Texas aprons. It was all part of recognizing the Texas Department of Agriculture’s NSLW theme “Take a Texas-Size Taste Tour.”


“It is fun to have district administrators work behind the line because they get to see how challenging it is to feed hundreds of students in a short period of time,” said Sharon Glosson, the NEISD executive director of child nutrition. “They gain an appreciation for our department and employees.  The students love to see new faces behind the line, especially their own principal.”

In keeping with the “Take a Texas-Size Taste Tour,” NEISD students were treated to foods from the great state of Texas, including samples of Texas produce.

Photo: The NEISD School Nutrition Staff

Updated October 23, 2013

Copperas Cove ISD Shows Texas-Size Enthusiasm for NSLW


Copperas Cove ISD (CCISD) celebratedCopperas Cove NSLW National School Lunch Week (NSLW) with a kickoff on October 11, 2013 at Mae Stevens Elementary School. Rick Kirkpatrick, Deputy Superintendent of CCISD, read the proclamation and cut the ribbon to get the event started. The CCISD Child Nutrition Department used the Texas Department of Agriculture’s “Take a Texas-Size Taste Tour” theme and decorated the school’s cafeteria with Texas themed items. 

“I wanted to promote local produce and we used our kick-off as an opportunity to showcase some local produce and show the kids what this produce looked like,” said Melissa Murray-Paez CCISD Director of Child Nutrition and Warehouse Services. “For example, I showed students what a whole spaghetti squash looked like, then I cut it open and showed them what the insides looked like. I then told them how easy it was to cook and what it tasted like. I did this with a different produce that they would be tasting each day during National School Lunch Week.”

CCISD Onion Taste TestingMurray-Paez said the student response was “awesome” and their enthusiasm was enhanced by special prizes students could win by participating in the taste tests. Each day the children tried a sample and dropped their names into a basket. A total of 832 samples were tested during NSLW.

Murray-Paez was just as enthusiastic about NSLW and she is planning to continue with similar efforts.

“This is just the beginning and I look forward to many more events this school year,” she said. “After all … National School BREAKFAST Week is coming up!”NSLW ballots for CCISD

Photos: Top to bottom, Melissa Murray-Paez leads a fresh foods demonstration during the NSLW kickoff event; a student takes an onion sample for taste testing; students put their names in a basket for prize drawing.

Updated October 23, 2013

La Vernia ISD Hosts Long List of NSLW Events


La Vernia ISD kicked off the La Vernia Taste of Texas2013 National School Lunch Week with Superintendent Tom Harvey and the school board signing a Proclamation that October 14-18 was National School Lunch Week. The La Vernia newspaper even featured the event. Throughout the week, the La Vernia students enjoyed a variety of activities and events including:


  • The campus child nutrition teams participated in a decorating contest for their serving lines or displays
  • Morning announcements gave students fun information about the components of a healthy lunch
  • Each campus had students working in the kitchens and serving (they followed Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points procedures)  
  • The staff conducted taste tests on various Texas products and Texas grapefruits were a big hit
  • There were prizes, drawings and trivia questions during lunch times


National School Lunch Week activities even featured a Mini Health Fair at the Primary School. It offered a chance for child nutrition staff to talk to parents and students. The fair featured games that were all about fruits and vegetables and making healthy choices. Child Nutrition Director Vicki Spessard said it was a great week and everyone worked hard to have fun and educate the students on Texas products.

Updated October 22, 2013

Glen Rose ISD Students Explore New Foods for NSLW

This was Dawn Foos’s second year as child nutrition coordinator at Glen Rose ISD and she said she did more for National School Lunch Week (NSLW) this year than last and hopes to do more each year. Her child nutrition staff made good use of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s “Take a Texas-Size Taste Tour” materials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program. Foos said the students were introduced to new foods like honeydew melons during National School Lunch Week.

“We just started the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program through USDA, so they have been providing fresh fruits and vegetables we didn’t normally get like blueberries and fresh pineapple,” Food said. “We had the spring salad and they loved it. It’s amazing how much they like the fresh fruits and vegetables. We had taste tests and had them on the line.”

After Foos submitted her NSLW menus, the local newspaper thought the taste testing for National School Lunch Week was newsworthy and wrote an article about it. The enthusiasm for NSLW and child nutrition was apparent in the article and the activities Glen Rose students enjoyed.
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