School Nutrition Success Stories School nutrition professionals were making healthy changes to menus long before updated federal nutrition standards for school meals went into effect. SNA’s resource website for parents, www.TrayTalk.org, features success stories and hot topic articles highlighting creative ways school meal programs nationwide are improving menus and getting students excited about healthier choices. Notable trends include: Kid favorites made healthy: Popular menu items are nutritious choices! School pizza is prepared with whole grain crust, low-fat cheese and reduced-sodium sauce. Macaroni and cheese features whole wheat pasta and low-fat/sodium sauce. Even chocolate milk has gotten a makeover, and is now lower in sugar and fat-free.Chef inspired recipes: Schools are mixing up the menu with restaurant-inspired recipes. Many schools have trained chefs on staff or partner with local chefs to develop new menu items and to help get kids excited about trying healthier menu choices. Click here to see how chefs are making a difference. See how Farm to School is freshening up menus in Burlington, Vt., schools! More local sourcing: Schools are purchasing more local foods directly from farmers and through co-ops and produce distributors. USDA has found that more than 38,000 schools, representing 21 million students, are serving over $350 million in local food. To find out about local sourcing, farm to school programs and school gardens in your area, visit USDA’s Farm to School Census. Ethnic flavors: School cafeterias are catering to increasingly diverse student bodies. These days, cafeterias are dishing up more ethnic recipes that appeal to students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and help expand student palates. Sampling everything from Curry Chicken Salad to Cuban-style Roast Pork, students are experiencing flavors from around the world! Click here to learn more. Student Involvement: School nutrition professionals want students to enjoy the nutritious foods offered with school meals, but sometimes students are hesitant to try new menu items or unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. Schools host student taste tests and offer free samples to encourage kids to try healthier fare, gather feedback on new recipes and identify student favorites. Kids cooking classes, school gardens and nutrition education programs are also helping students become open to the healthy choices in the cafeteria. Click here to see how one Colorado school district is getting students involved.