Brand New School Lunch Options

Remember back in the day when your choices were PB&J (which still rocks), turkey sandwich or the hot lunch from school (in my case were green corn dogs)? Times have changed! In an effort to have better food for students, breakfast and lunch, a handful of schools around the country have adopted the 2015 version of meals on wheels.

Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas, recently rolled in a taco truck — dubbed Talon Taco Company, in honor of the school mascot, the hawk — that offers students a fresh, healthy alternative to standard cafeteria food (whole-grain tortillas, brown rice) and still meets federal guidelines. Students can customize their meal, choosing their fillings, Chipotle-style, and watch it prepared on the spot. The meals are as affordable as a regular school lunch, and not surprisingly, the kids are lining up for them.

“Since the food truck came here people have been more excited for lunch and … more enthusiastic about it,” one student told local ABC affiliate KVUE.

Hendrickson’s Central Texas school district may roll out the program to other schools, joining what appears to be a growing school food truck movement.

A Whole Foods-funded food truck is currently making the rounds at the five high schools in Colorado’s Boulder Valley School District, serving a rotating menu of chef-prepared meals, like hamburgers that are “all-natural and hormone- and antibiotic-free” and served on whole-wheat buns, chicken pesto sandwiches topped with provolone cheese and roasted peppers, black bean and corn burgers, and BBQ pork sliders, all of which come with milk, fruit and salad on the side, Denver’s CBS4 reports.

Public school students in Orange County, Florida, have been enjoying meals like warm Asian chicken salad, green bean chicken “casser-bowl” and Asian beef teriyaki, served straight from the truck. (In a fun high-tech twist on the concept, kids get to rate the meals on an iPad and the favorites may make it into the regular school-lunch rotation.)

You’ll find school district food trucks serving fresh-made free and reduced-price lunches during the summer break in locales like Minneapolis, New Haven, Connecticut, and Fayette County, Indiana, as well.

If this keeps up, food trucks may drive the humble school lunch to a whole new level of health and creativity.

Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.