Homework: Your school district’s menu(s)

You have homework. I want to know what your school district is serving to students. Please post a link to your school district’s menu(s) in the comments as well as a brief review and commentary: good, bad, or ugly. Menu is plural because there might be differences within a school district (for example, the menus could be different in elementary school versus high school)

If you can’t find the menu(s), what can you find out about your school district’s nutritional guidelines on their website? Do they have a Local Wellness Policy (as mandated by the Child Nutrition Act)? Are they adhering to their own policy?

Readers email me links and menus as attachments all the time. In fact, a reader suggested this post. Let’s compare and contrast!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

, , ,

242 Responses to Homework: Your school district’s menu(s)

  1. Amy Elizabeth May 15, 2010 at 3:06 am #


    Here's the elementary menu for McKinney, TX. It's interesting that the lunch choices have a system called GO-SLOW-WHOA which is about making good choices w/o limitations (I'm sure the contract with Papa John's every thurs is one of the reasons for the WHOA part) but there is a GO choice almost every day.

    The Breakfasts are a little scary. There is a sugary option every morning (and, of course, Mr Oliver's favourite option, Breakfast Pizza) and Fri are Glazed Donut with Sausage or Pig in a Blanket (pancake wrapped in sausage) and of course, the king of all breakfasts…tater tots.

    That's Texas for you, I guess.

  2. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 3:50 am #


    This is Denver Public Schools' May Menu.

  3. Ella May 15, 2010 at 4:06 am #

    http://www.byramhills.org/uploads/CH/CHlunch_curr.pdf – from Byram Hills in affluent Westchester, NY.

    Pretty good! This is the elementary school's menu (k-2). It's improved a LOT. I graduated recently and in the high school, we had a salad bar, whole wheat pizza station, custom sandwich station, hot meal choice, cereals, bagels, and baked versions of chips everyday. There was no soda or candy sold.

  4. Bethany May 15, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    This year, due to unemployment, we qualified for the reduced lunch. After two weeks or so of buying lunch, my first grader came home and said, "Mommy can you please pack my lunch from now on? The school lunch is disgusting." Even the items you would think a kid would jump at (pizza, chicken nuggets, hot dogs) she hated.

  5. Kristen May 15, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    I live in California. My sons school uses Kid Chow for their meals – https://www.kidchow.com/default.asp. Here is the April/June menu – http://www.kidchow.com//menus/Kid-Chow-April-June-2010-Menu-Flyer.pdf. He is in Kindergarten and is sort of picky, so we have never ordered from them. But it looks pretty good, I think. They offer pizza day 1x a month from a different local pizza place. Not sure if pizza is ever offered on the Kid Chow menu or not. Just reading over this menu is making me kind of hungry!!

    • Kid Chow Webmaster November 16, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      The yummy menus Kristen mentions above change as time passes. The link to that 2010 menu won’t work anymore, so please visit the home page of the site to see a slideshow of Kid Chow’s current entrees.

  6. christinemm May 15, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    I homeschool. Here are some from public schools in towns near me, in my county: Fairfield County Connecticut.

    No where in public can you get a meal for these low prices. Seems to me the lunch is close to what I paid in the 1970s and early 1980s. Time to raise the price of the school lunch so it can contain more real food and healthier choices like what the child eats at home and at restaurants. This is cheaper than the dollar menu at McDonald's and the Happy Meal!

    Redding, rated the #1 small town in the state largely based on school system


    Easton, rated the #2 small town in the state largely based on school system (same menu)


    Monroe's is password protected for parents only!


    Trumbull (has a build a tray program to help kids custom design their own healthy meal)




    The parents have been doing a big campaign to improve the school lunch (for years)


  7. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    We qualify for free lunch, but there is no way I would let my kids eat this junk. All of our menus are in pdf form. The link to the district site is http://www.kusd.edu/

    The lunch menu is right there in the middle of the front page.

  8. Your Green Helper May 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Our District also has separate menus for elementary, middle and high school. My kids are still in elementary, so is the only one I have really paid attention to. It is not horrible and they are starting to offer more healthier choices. However, I still pack their lunches everyday!


  9. Erin May 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    http://www.hayscisd.net/food/menus/meals.htm This is from Hays CISD just south of Austin, TX. I don't think the meals are too bad. There are choices and kids can certainly choose wrong, but there are options to choose pretty well too. I like that they have a fruit and salad bar included with every meal that has a range of fresh options that kids can fill up on if they want to.

  10. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    I'm not even going to post the menus for my school district, I'll just tell you: macaroni and cheese, pizza, hamburgers, with soggy vegetables and dried-up fruit, and sugar-loaded flavored milk, cookies, and fatty soft pretzels.
    My school district's lunch provider has won a lot of nutritional awards, but I my aunt (I'm in 5th grade), who's a nutritionist, did an ingredient analysis of her own, and the school food is more unhealthy than fast food.
    I've viewed all of your menus – every single one of them – and stop complaining, because your food compared to mine is gourmet. I vomit when I eat the school food, and the kids who buy it every day are fat.

  11. Ballyhooligan May 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    My kids aren't in the school food system yet. My older is starting Kindergarten next fall she is already worried about 'that food'. Luckily, she's already asking about carrying her own so we're going to get her a cute bento box.

    We have breakfast and lunch menus at the elementary level and breakfast, lunch/ala carte for middle & high school.


    I'm really disturbed by the ala carte menus. the prices are disturbingly high and the idea of letting an 11/12 year old pick and choose from those choices sounds like a bad idea all around, both financially and nutritionally.

    Also seriously unhappy to see that coffee drinks are offered to students starting in 6th grade.

  12. Jennifer May 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    This is the food services website with all kinds of info: http://www.schoolnutritionandfitness.com/index.php?sid=2710081939036719

    This is specifically the pages with the menus (breakfast & lunch) for elementary, middle, and high schools: http://www.schoolnutritionandfitness.com/index.php?page=menus&sid=2710081939036719

    I teach at an elementary school and we have a salad bar, which is good, but like everywhere, the kids may not even visit the salad bar or it goes in the trash. We joke that the food is always shades of white with very few whole grains and greens.

    A couple of years ago, my colleague and I started serving a healthy breakfast to students during testing week. We teach 6th grade and many students do not have parents monitoring what they eat for breakfast – it's sometimes even a soda! When we began this, we got a big backlash from our food services department because they said we were "competing" with them. Fortunately, our principal and other administrators were very supportive and we have been able to continue this program for the last few years. It's nothing special – oatmeal with raisins & cinnamon, whole grain bagels with low fat cream cheese, fruit, and hard boiled eggs. I have never seen kids so excited about oatmeal! We have kids asking if we can serve this kind of breakfast all the time. That tells me that kids will eat healthy food!

  13. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    My school district offers usually:
    Tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, etc., with cookies, soft pretzels, and flavored milk. Breakfast is usually Pop-Tarts, sugary cereal, or unhealthy waffles. Fruit and vegetables are available in the form of soggy mush. When I asked my doctor if it was okay for me to eat this, she said no, it raises my risk for heart attack, obesity, and shortens my life span. Why are we offering this trash to our students if this is what it does to their health?

  14. Mrs. Q May 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Thanks so very much for all your input!! Fantastic!

  15. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm #


    This is the K-8 menu for Portland public schools.

  16. Lark May 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm #


    Here is this month's menu from my HS…. I have been out of school 5 years, and as a vegetarian, I NEVER ate the school lunches. But seems like they haven't changed since then.

  17. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    I am also from Washington DC, so I have the same chartwell's menu as a previous commenter has. I also thought it was worth mentioning that Chartwell's is also the group that funds the food at my community college. My look at the menu gave me the impression that our food here is basically the same as your Ms. Q…. And, I can say from personal experience that eating healthy is a challenge at my school's cafeteria, so if the offerings at the grade schools are at all similar, they aren't good at all.

    One thing I did notice is that as the kids get older they seem to have more choices. Elementary kids seem to get what they get, while high schooler's seem to have daily specials, a regular weekly rotation, and a few every day items. So at least there is some choice so the food students get they'll actually eat (hopefully)….

  18. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    The lunch menu for West Branch, Iowa. Differences between elementary, middle and high school are indicated in each day's listing. I was surprised to see that they only post two weeks at time.


  19. Leslie May 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    May and June here:

    I think the menus are AWFUL and I try not to let my kids buy lunch ever. When they request to have the "privilege" of buying we sit down together and discuss what they will order together. I know once he ordered chocolate milk against my wishes (tell tale brown stains on his shoulder where he wiped his face) but he proudly tells me how he found a fruit, veg and a protein when he buys. He's 8- I'm hoping he's telling the truth! LOL! He only "gets" to buy once every week or so. The rest of the time I pack a beautiful Bento inspired lunch.

  20. kellebelle May 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    For our specific school (our school's menu just repeats every month):
    Or, to see other schools in the district:

    I'm really enjoying your blog — thank you for all the effort that goes into it!

  21. Kelly May 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Our school district elementary menu. It's a 4 week rotating schedule, and it seems pretty good to me.


  22. zahirah.com May 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Here's the link to my old elementary school: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/FoodServices/Pages/Elementarytransportlunch.aspx

    Intermediate: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/FoodServices/Pages/MiddleSchoolMenus.aspx

    High school: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/FoodServices/Pages/HighSchoolMenus.aspx

    I rarely ate lunch at school, but I checked out the current menu at my old high school and they seem to offer one fairly decent-sounding meal and one cr*ppy meal each day, though each one appears to include choice of fruit, crispy green salad, and baby carrots, which doesn't sound too bad. Actually, it all sounded like a lot of food.

  23. Missy May 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm #


    You can choose elementary or secondary school menus by the week, both breakfast & lunch.

    I don't think our kids' menus are so terrible. The food isn't all that fabulous, but it's much better than what you post (your lunches just make me sad). My (retired, bored) father took a part-time job in the cafeteria at my daughter's middle school last year and had many stories to tell about the kids & their eating habits, those that ate pb&j every single day, those that ate nothing but chips every day… The school has the largest student body in the county, almost 1600 kids in three grades. Lunch costs anywhere from $2 at elementary level, to $3 & up in middle & high school.

    My kids have the option to have me pack a lunch for them on days they don't like what's on the menu. There are actually a few things that they really like, specifically tacos, nachos & the chicken patty sandwiches. Food is prepared at the school, in the cafeteria, by the cooks. Fresh fruit & veggies are served daily as well, but I eat lunch with my elementary aged kids every couple of weeks, and I can tell you that even though they are on the menu, most kids don't take them every day (even though they still pay for them), and often when they do they end up in the trash.

  24. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    Here is the link to the elementary and secondary breakfast, lunch, and kindergarten snack menus.

    My kids rarely buy school lunch. One refuses to eat them, the other thought it was fun when she started first grade, but soon realized that she didn't like the food very much. They are now in 3rd and 5th grade and I pack their lunches (along with mine and my husband's) every day. When I have gone to be with them during lunch time, the food looks very unappetizing, but the noise level and bad manners (open mouthed chewing, etc.) are even worse. Students whose classes get to the cafeteria with the "wrong timing" can wait in line for almost half of their 30 minute lunch period to buy their lunch.

    I am a teacher in a secondary school in the same district. I don't even go near the cafeteria, so I have no idea what the food is like. The cafeteria is loud and crowded, and I only have 25 minutes for lunch. I'd rather eat in peace, and save the 5-10 minutes it would take to get to the cafeteria, buy my lunch, get back to the teachers room to eat it, then return the tray and silverware to the cafeteria. Yes, we switched to plastic trays and metal utensils last year.

  25. Anonymous May 15, 2010 at 11:42 pm #


    The food is not terrible, but definitely very similiar to the food you eat at your school. However, there is a salad bar and other healthy things you can choose and (in the elementary/middle school at least) you need at least two "healthy choices" to make it a full meal. I think our school district does a pretty good job of offering healthy choices and limiting how much unhealthy food is offered, but only compared to other schools. They don't offer regular soda or candy in the lunch line or the vending machines in the high school, but you can always get different kinds of ice cream and things like Sun Chips, cookies, chocolate coffee milk drinks and flavored Snapple for lunch and diet sodas in the vending machines. The lunch food is very processed and the salad is always from a bag, but at least they offer it and try to get creative with what they can work with.


  26. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    Here is a link to all the menus in my school district. My children take their own lunch from home 99% of the time because the food they serve at school is not healthy enough for us.
    Thank you for your blog & doing what you are doing, this subject needs as much attention as it could get!


  27. prolixe May 16, 2010 at 12:31 am #


    It's been about a decade since I've eaten there so I'm not sure if they've switched to new brands in the meantime. The fajitas and popcorn chicken are new items but everything else sounds the same. You'll notice on the one day a salad bar is offered (just iceberg lettuce with some cheese, veggies, and croutons), the younger kids get hot dogs. My memories of lunchtime are pretty traumatic. By senior year I was down to eating brownies or sneaking out for Burger King because the food was so gross and there's only so many days in a row I can eat peanut butter coated rice cakes (I won't eat cold meat and the school won't let kids use the microwaves). The pizza turnovers leak tons of this disgusting orange oil, and anything pizza related comes with weird pellet-like chunks of pepperoni. Once in a great while we'd get a decent meal like the roasted chicken or the diced turkey & gravy, but all other meat products are heavily processed and spongy. In addition to the hot lunch line, there's also an ala carte line which contains things like nachos, fries, corndogs, pizza turnovers, pizza, soft pretzels, rice pilaf, and occasionally some veggies. It's also where you can get tuna and egg salad sandwiches (if you like that sort of thing. But make sure you check the expiration date!), chips, the aforementioned brownies, supposedly fresh fruit (apples and bananas with brown spots), and gummy fruit snacks. I was at my heaviest weight ever during high school (which isn't much by most people's standards, but I have an extremely tiny frame). During the summer after graduation I lost half of that extra weight and the rest melted off during my first year of college. I didn't change the quantity of what I ate – in fact, I ate more. Just goes to show how quality can affect you.

  28. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 1:08 am #


    Both the elementary and middle/high school menus can be found on the top left of the page. At least in the elementary they seem to cycle through the same 10 meals or so. In the fall they sometimes use fresh ingredients from the school garden.

    I let my child pick one day a week to buy lunch. No surprise, it's always Friday (pizza day). And the school gives out "coupons" to every student on Fridays permitting them to buy ice cream for an extra 40 cents. I was never notified of this, and I have no say in it (what with the social pressure and the excitement – ice cream!).

  29. Mary May 16, 2010 at 1:12 am #


    The lunches are pretty standard….USDA prepackaged food. I am totally grossed out by them. The breakfasts, though, are even worse to me. An egg burrito prepackaged in a plastic wrapper. "Loaded" eggs in a little plastic cup. The kids eat in the classroom and the whole room smells like rot. My house doesn't smell like that when I cook eggs, but I cook REAL eggs, so what does that tell you about those eggs? Bleck.

  30. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 1:18 am #


    Here is link for the district, which includes breakfast/lunch, separate menus for elementary and high school. Love your blog. My child is in kinder this year and for first grade I had been considering having him lunch at school. But their menu, very similar to what you've been posting, just does not seem as healthy as I what I pack for him. And frankly, I'm concerned that my child would not make the best choices. If I pack him his lunch, he is still honest enough to come home with what he didn't eat for the day. I get a better picture of his eating habits this way.

  31. kytt May 16, 2010 at 4:34 am #


    This has the districts menues for elementary and secondary in pdf for the entire school year. It amazes me how many time there are chicken rings, nuggets or fingers just in the month of may alone. And what exactly are chicken ring!?

  32. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    Elementary- http://www.ddouglas.k12.or.us/node/407

    The lunches at my district is just plain disgusting. To me, it seems that the lunches get worse the farther you progress in school. In the the high school, the average lunch is about 721 calories per meal! Not to mention the total fat in about every meal too. But my district comes from a pretty poor area and the district doesn't get enough funding for meals.

  33. Claire White May 16, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    This is the school district I used to teach in (as well as where I went to high school), Las Vegas/Clark County, NV:


    The grade level menus are linked off that page but this first page is really the most interesting. They compare school offerings to McDonalds and "pizza restaurants." This implication, that students would be eating McDonalds and Pizza Hut if they were not in school, is frightening. There are other, healthier options in all of the schools, yet they choose to highlight the savings between CCSD chicken nuggets and Micky D's chicken McNuggets. Yuck. So much for modeling behavior.

    Also, I saw that someone posted Jefferson County, KY's menus and wanted to comment. I attended two years of elementary school and one of middle in Jefferson County. Besides the addition of Uncrustables, those menus look suspiciously similar to what I was served fifteen years ago. I guess that shouldn't surprise me, but it does.

  34. Purple Echo May 16, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    Here you go, from Duarte, California

  35. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    16th largest school system in the country: Montgomery County, Maryland

    Our Director of Food Services made a commercial for flavored milk!


  36. Emma and Sean May 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm #


    a K-8 district in phoenix, arizona. my school has salad bar 3x a week for grades 7-8 and 2x a week for 4-6. our cafe ladies bake all their own rolls and pastries for breakfast – the apple turnovers are delish, as is the zucchini bread. i heard, but can not verify, that all lunches must contain less than 8 grams of fat – excluding the milk. potato chips are always the baked BBQ variety, which kids happily munch on. milk is local shamrock farms low fat in plain, chocolate, or strawberry varieties. one day i got a craving for a chocolate milk and discovered it had nearly 200 calories in it… YIKES! as well as all the carageenan to thicken it up…

    where you might see "peach crisp" is actually just canned peaches baked and topped with granola – but still a cool change of pace from just a scoop of canned peaches. the cupcakes aren't homemade, but are wrapped questionable looking things similar to a hostess cupcake. the chili is homemade, and every now and then the cafeteria ladies will make soup for the teachers using leftover items from the salad bar that are about to be "expired" but are still totally fine. whip up a batch of chicken vegetable soup… yummy!

    we own plastic trays that sometimes get used, but just as often, styrofoam trays are used. when i asked about this i was told that we don't own enough plastic trays to use them in the jam packed schedule – our cafe feeds 1,200 students each day between 10:39 am and 12:20 pm – while washing them in between. i thought to myself, uh, duh – why not buy more then, surely it's cheaper than buying styro EVERY DAY?! sometimes plastic baskets lined with paper are used, for meals like popcorn chicken. only plastic sporks are available, which makes eating a whole piece of breaded chicken amusing to watch. salad bar is available to teachers as well, and teachers get real plates and forks.

  37. Allison May 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Here's ours: http://www.bainbridge.wednet.edu/central/foodservices/elementary.pdf

    I send my first grader with a packed lunch.

  38. Anonymous May 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm #


    Fresh fruits and veggies as snack at the school I work at.

  39. Buttonwillow Six May 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm #


    It sounds better than it looks….

  40. Anonymous May 17, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    My school district actually has different menus for the elementary, middle, and high schools.

    Elementary schools:

    Middle & High Schools:

    It seems like the elementary schools get more choices, but the middle and high schools actually get a lot more choices than what's on the menu. Everyday, they serve pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, etc. along with the menu choice being the only change. Snack bar is also open starting in second grade, I believe. I think that the middle and high schools also have salad bars though, which is a plus.

    My children started in the public schools from grades K-8, but now go to a private high school that serves food that's actually worse. Along with the menu choice, they serve assorted cold-cut sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the same chopped salad everyday. My daughter often complains that she cannot eat anything because there are rarely any vegetarian options, which is a problem because she's vegetarian. She gets tired of the same salad (there is no salad bar..the salad comes prepared already) and even complained that it was frozen once. Instead, she gets an "American" sandwich, takes out the meat, keeps the cheese, and adds pickles. There is also a snack bar.


  41. Anonymous May 17, 2010 at 1:56 am #


    High School:

    I always really liked the school lunches in high school (graduated two years ago), but I don't remember them very well from elementary school

  42. Hope May 17, 2010 at 2:06 am #


    I notice that the only menu listed is the elementary menu. Each lunch has at least 600 calories. If the daily calorie need for a 150 pound adult is 2000 calories, does a 40 pound child really need a 600 calorie lunch? I know they need more calories than they burn if they need additional calories for growth, but 600 seems excessive.

  43. Stephanie Nguyen May 17, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    Hey There;

    I no longer attend these schools and have no children who do, however looking back at this menu… I ate this?


  44. Anonymous May 17, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    http://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/19631071013512410/lib/19631071013512410/menus/menu.pdf Elementary School Lunch. The fruits are vegetables are usually pretty fresh but the kids usually only eat about 1/4 of what they take. My biggest issue is with the main meals which is where most of the fat comes in. Who really thinks that 22 grams of saturated fat is healthy for a child??? The fats are definitely not the healthier types like Omega 3's. Unfortunately the breakfast menus are not given out. The kids are usually given 3 or 4 choices for breakfast – Cheese Omlet, "breakfast" pizza (seriously, it's just a sausage pizza), sugary cereals and occasionally giant cinnamon rolls (the rolls are at least 3" across and 2" deep with lots of frosting on top).

    There is no menu for high school and middle school lunches. Pizza is available every day. Salads are available, also. Other meal choices rotate through the week. There are always fresh or canned fruits available.

  45. mleaf May 17, 2010 at 5:30 am #


    This shows the menus for the elementary, middle, & high schools, in the school district I attended (I'm currently a 3rd yr in college)

    I never ate food from the cafeteria in elementary school & didn't even know there was a website for the menus, until now.

    From looking @ the menus, I think the elementary breakfast menu is by far the worst. They serve: breakfast pizza, breakfast burger, cheesy quesadilla, and pancake on a stick?? I would never want to eat any of these items for breakfast.

Site Meter