After participating in a pilot program at schools around the country, many students and school foodservice directors agree: The Rock and Roll Beef Wrap is delicious and nutritious. The same goes for Spy Thai Beef, Sweet Potato Beef Mash-up, Wrangler’s Beef Chili and Sweet and Sloppy Joes.
“Awesome’ was a common compliment from youngsters who taste-tested and named five all-new ground beef recipes created by the Beef Checkoff Program for school lunches. School foodservice directors noted the “homemade’ flavor of the recipes and the use of economical, widely available ingredients. Another selling point for school staff? The meals pair the timeless appeal of ground beef with “generous’ amounts of vegetables that young people might not otherwise consume.
Some of the new recipes are already on menus at K-12 test schools in several states and are being shared with school foodservice professionals across the country.
Perhaps most important, the recipes help meet new government nutrition guidelines for the national school breakfast/lunch program. The five beef recipes meet all school nutrition guidelines for fat, calories and sodium and help incorporate a variety of food groups, such as meat, vegetables and grains, into meals. The recipes all contain 10 essential nutrients, including fiber, which was recognized as a nutrition concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The recipes were triple-tested in the checkoff's test kitchen. The national beef checkoff and state beef councils in Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Washington then worked with local school districts to field-test the recipes and gather feedback from students and foodservice directors.
The checkoff is aware that retaining beef as a viable protein in the school lunch program is integral, and this pilot program helps accomplish that critical goal.
“We have very close foodservice relationships in Colorado, so we were able to get one of the state’s largest school districts on board with the pilot program,’ says Julie Moore, director of nutrition and education for the Colorado Beef Council. “The icing on the cake, so to speak, for us was the collaboration in creating great trial recipes and the entire test process."
“This project gave us direct contact with influential school audiences – staff and the students – who are both our consumers," said Michigan beef producer Garry Wiley, co-chair of the checkoff’s national food and nutrition subcommittee. “We were also able to deliver real tools in the form of recipes. This has been a cooperative project that really supports efforts to ensure beef remains on school lunch menus as a nutritious, delicious meal option for our children.’