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School Foodservice

Add Nutrient-Dense Potatoes for Happy Students and Clean Plates!


As a nutrient-dense vegetable, potatoes can play a key role in school foodservice. Most kids like potatoes, which means they get eaten when served and not thrown away. In fact, in a plate waste study at three elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth grade) participating in the USDA’s school meal program in central Texas, overall food waste at school meals was reduced when potatoes were served.1

As part of the mission to #MakeEveryBiteCount with the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended that Americans focus on increasing their nutrient-dense vegetable consumption. As a nutrient-dense vegetable, potatoes support all three healthy eating patterns – Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian, and Healthy Mediterranean – defined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Their versatility makes them an easy addition to any cuisine or meal type.

The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans have yet again confirmed the importance of eating more vegetables, such as potatoes, that provide potassium and vitamin C.

For more information on how potatoes help nutrition in all stages of life, visit: Apre.org


Eating more fruits and vegetables, in all forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice), is the single most important action people can take – at all ages and stages of life – to improve overall health and wellbeing.

New, comprehensive fruit and vegetable consumption research from the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) 2020 State of the Plate report reveals concerning trends, but also important insights into opportunities to improve intake. With nine out of 10 Americans not eating enough fruits and vegetables each day, PBH initiated the #haveaplant call to action to promote more consumption of fruits & veggies. In conjunction with providing research, a State of the Plate Toolkit is available for use. The toolkit includes images and sample copy that combine fruit and vegetable puns with pop culture references for some light-hearted humor.

Learn more about the movement here.


Gen Z is an extremely diverse population and as such, so are their palates. New recipes were created with diversity in mind, using fresh, frozen, and dehydrated potatoes with global mashups to give school foodservice operators inspiration to entice their students.

The dishes are inspired by flavors from around the world: Korean BBQ Chicken Fries (South Korea), Southwest Potato Tostada (Mexico), Turkish Falafel (or Turkey Meatball) Potato Bowl with Lemon Sesame Dressing (Middle East), Indian Butter Chicken Tater Drums (India), and BBQ Roasted Potatoes with Smoky Pulled Chicken (USA). Not only do these dishes showcase the versatility that potatoes bring to school lunch menus, but can also be served using various potato types, such as a baked potato for a baked potato bar or on top of delectable fries or tater drums.


Grab & go solutions continue to be a major focus within the school foodservice community. With their versatility and nutrient density, potatoes can be featured across the menu. They can be served hot or cold and hold well for extended periods of time when packaged properly. So why not consider these recipes when developing your 2022 menus.


1 Capps et al. Examining vegetable plate waste in elementary schools by diversity and grade. Health Beh and Policy Rev. 2016;3(5):419-428(10). https://apre.org/nutrition-science/healthy-lifestyles/potatoes-and-childhood-nutrition/