The Cafeteria Services at Belle Chasse Academy, Eagles’ Way Café, participates in the National School lunch program, and the National Breakfast program. Our attendance is approximately 946 children with 42% free and reduced lunch. We have an average daily participation rate of 675 students at lunch, and 200 at breakfast. We receive USDA Foods, and FFAVORS as a part of that program which allows us the opportunity to provide fresh fruits and veggies at every meal, with at least 6 different offerings per day to choose from. We participate in the National Farm to School Program by planning the menu cycles around Louisiana’s Harvest of the Month and with the School Victory Garden harvest of the Month Program. We offer LOCAL through the FFAVORS program whenever possible, provide LOCAL milk from within the state and purchase LOCAL produce when in season. Since becoming self-managed this year, we have been reaching out to local farmers within Plaquemines Parish for citrus and are currently trying to find a local fish purveyor.
My plate is taught per the nutrition curriculum and the child nutrition staff works closely with Cafeteria services to ensure the My Plate and Offer vs Serve is taught to every child. We work closely with the nutrition staff to test new recipes with students. BCA Cafeteria Services expand upon those MyPlate and Offer vs Serve teachings using Smarter Lunchroom techniques along with the Healthier Snack and School Lunch programs. BCA provides healthy after-school snacks via Cafeteria Services to students participating in the Century 21 After School program in accordance with the Healthy School Snacks program.
Students have a wide variety of healthy options to choose from to make healthy choices daily, including two to three fresh fruit options, fresh veggie cups, and side salads with fat-free dressings. We serve lean meats, whole grains and fat-free milk options at each meal service also. Grades 4-8 have a salad bar option to choose from where we repurpose produce leftovers to make healthy soup recipes. All recipes used in menu items are reduced sodium to no sodium and reduced sugars to no added sugars. We offer a flavor station at the POS to let students enhance the flavors of their meals.
Students are also encouraged to try different menu items by participating in BCA’s produce project- “Around the World in 6 bites” that introduces students to different vegetables with different seasonings from around the world through tastings. The program follows our Harvest of the Month program featuring locally grown veggies as well as the BCA Victory Garden Harvests of the Month program where students get to try veggies in ways that they may not be accustomed to. Students are given materials to take home with recipe cards, nutrition facts, and information about where the vegetable derives from and how it’s nutritional components impacts the body. The Eagle’s Way café recycles all vegetation clippings from the kitchen, students’ meals and uses compostable trays in conjunction with the BCA’s sustainability efforts and encourages students to recycle any plastic bottles or uneaten portions of fruit and veggies. Vegetation and trays are composted in the BCA Victory Garden’s composting bin and students are encouraged and taught to be guardians of the Earth through recycling efforts all around school.
We hope to expand on our efforts with the revitalization of our greenhouse. Our goals are to be able to grow hydroponic lettuce and tomatoes that will produce enough lettuce to feed all of our students daily and to also sell in a retail environment to optimize sustainability in our school lunch program.