Cafeteria slideshow photo for online

ST. MARYS — Jodee Raybuck, regional manager of The Nutrition Group, kicked off Monday evening’s St. Marys Area School District board meeting with updates and 2019/2020 school-year plans for the cafeteria program.

In a slideshow, Raybuck presented a 2018-2019 recap, where St. Marys Area High School statistics show students were above-budget when it came to participating in breakfast meals, and slightly below during lunch. The ala carte budget of $147,396 was surpassed by the actual amount of $162,581.

Raybuck says they did not expect so many ala carte students, and have plans such as “bistro boxes” and protein packs to gain more students back during lunchtime.

“Any monies made have to be put back into the cafeteria program,” Raybuck says. “It only benefits the students.”

TNG brought back some popular meal programs, such as “Lunch for Life,” which instructs younger students on how to build the best tray of foods, and “Tasty Bites,” which includes dessert as part of a student’s meal. Raybuck also talked about “Food Fusion,” which offers food-truck options for students, and “Farm to Fork,” using local produce.

Programs to get students excited about nutrition, such as a “Totally ‘80s” theme day and Wellness Wednesdays, are also in place this school year, Raybuck says.

Another goal of TNG has been to go digital, utilizing social media resources like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and offering an app called “Nutrislice,” which provides information on things like allergens and nutritional facts.

“We are facelifting our cafeterias,” Raybuck said.

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TNG focuses on certain areas with certain age groups, such as passing on “positive messages” to middle schoolers and getting feedback from high school students on things that need updated, such as the condiments station.

“We are blessed with a staff who cares quite a bit,” Raybuck said. “We’d like to thank you for giving us another year here in St. Marys and in the community.”

Raybuck added TNG hopes to partner with local farmers more next year to provide more farm-to-fork options.

SMASD Superintendent Brian Toth added that he receives plenty of compliments on the cafeteria program, and everything done behind the scenes is “top notch.”

Bistro box samples and other goodies were provided for board members and meeting attendees.

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