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Duval students can look forward to new menus, free meals and engaging cafeteria programs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools will be serving food that kids love to eat.

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As students begin the 2022-23 school year, DCPS is offering innovative food programs that encourage health, fun and discovery. It’s creating a place where students can connect and recharge with others.

The district’s food service management partner, Chartwells K12, wants to make sure students leave the cafeteria happy and healthy.

According to a study released by The Journal of the American Medical Association, “schools are now the single healthiest place Americans are eating.”

Chartwells’ team of chefs and dietitians are working to bring even more variety to menus, featuring new recipes with kid-approved foods.

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The first weeks of school will include meals such as:

- Roasted Florida vegetable flatbread

- Tempura chicken nuggets

- Chicken potstickers

- Chicken cordon bleu sandwich

- Spinach Florentine flatbread

- “Veg Out” bagel sandwich

- Jumbo chicken tenders

“This year, students can expect their favorite menu items and opportunities to vote on new items to add to school menus,” said Jane A. Zentko, food service contract compliance director for Duval County Public Schools. “Whether it’s trying a new meal at breakfast or enjoying a favorite menu item for lunch, we can’t wait to welcome back students to the cafeteria.”

The CEP Program

For the new school year, every public school in the district will be a part of the CEP program. This provides meals to students at no cost. All students will need to do is show their student ID card and/or student number at the register. There will be no cost for the regular meal (excluding a la carte).

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The benefits of the CEP program for both students and schools include:

- Kids get free meals -- and when their nutritional needs are met, a student is more attentive in class, has better attendance, and may have fewer disciplinary problems.

- Families with tight food budgets can rest assured that their child is getting at least two nutritious meals at school, reducing financial strain at home.

- CEP promotes equity by eliminating the out-of-pocket costs for families and by reducing stigma around the school meals programs.

- No more school lunch debt -- that means no more school lunch debt and no alternative meals to students who’ve accrued lunch debt.

Free and reduced-price meal applications will not be required.

Fun and discovery

Student Choice is a program that brings the latest food trends to school menus. This program gives high school students the power to choose what food concepts are featured. New menu items that will be available will inspire healthy eating habits.

The Discovery Kitchen program is designed to make nutrition education fun and entertaining. With the help of chefs and dietitians working together, the program aims to get kids cooking, trying new foods, and learning about what they’re eating.

Technology working for students, parents, faculty

Nutrislice is an application allowing access to school menus, nutritional information, allergens and photos.

The app is designed to help students and their parents prioritize healthy food choices. By understanding what ingredients are used, parents and faculty can better protect children from allergic reactions.

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The Nutrislice app can be downloaded for free from the App Store on Apple devices or Google Play for Android. You can also view nutritional information on your desktop and mobile devices at duvalschools.nutrislice.com.

Celebrating school lunch heroes

Kids advance from grade to grade with new classes and different teachers. It’s the dedicated lunch ladies and men in the school cafeteria who are often the few familiar faces throughout the years.

It these school lunch heroes that go above and beyond to not only serve foods kids love to eat, but to ensure that students leave the cafeteria happy and healthy.

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