Tag Archives: food services

Golfcrest Elementary students try new fruits, vegetables at school festival

Students handle a large papaya.

Students handle a large papaya.

While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, HISD’s Food Services department is hoping to get students to eat a few more than just a single piece of fruit.

Students at Golfcrest Elementary finished off a 3-week long nutritional curriculum with a taste-testing session held last week. The International Fruit and Veggie Festival allowed students to learn about food items with which they might not be familiar.

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32 HISD Schools Now Serving Free Dinner to Students

With more students spending most of their day at school, HISD’s Food Services has partnered with the 21st Century Community Learning Center program to serve dinner at various campuses to ensure students have access to healthy meals each day.

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Students have a chance to win an Apple iPad!

What can you get for telling Food Services what you think about your school’s daily breakfast and lunch dining experience? During the weeks of February 18 – March 8, secondary students at 74 selected schools will get a chance to win one of four Apple iPads Food Services is giving away. You can’t beat that! Students in grades 6-12 that go online to www.studentvp.com/HISD, complete the quick survey, fill out the confirmation page and turn it in to their school’s cafeteria manager will get their names entered in a drawing to win one (1) of four (4) Apple iPads! Continue reading

Food Services Facility tours give a taste of what’s cooking at HISD schools

Julie Spreckelmeyer, director of HISD Food Services marketing and communications, talks to HFPW members about the Tortilla dining brand and the components of a typical school lunch.

Julie Spreckelmeyer, director of HISD Food Services marketing and communications, talks to HFPW members about the Tortilla dining brand and the components of a typical school lunch.

If you’ve ever wondered what students are being served in HISD’s cafeterias today, you’re not alone.

Tours of HISD’s 220,000-square-foot Food Services Support Facility are available throughout the year, and more than two dozen members of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup (HFPW) took advantage of one recently to see first-hand what it takes to provide fresh, nutritious meals to thousands of students at the district’s more than 280 campuses each day. (See related “Behind the Scenes” video here.)

As a part of the tour, visitors were treated to a typical lunch served at Tortilla, a Fresh-Mex concept dining option available at the high-school level. The meal consisted of ground turkey/beef tacos, charro beans, Spanish brown rice, roasted vegetables, and whole-grain cookies prepared in the district’s bakery. All of these items, along with fresh-made salsas, are available at most HISD high-school campuses. Every high school cafeteria is expected to have them before the end of the year.

“This is better than restaurant food and it tastes very fresh and homemade,” said Sonia Gilmore, a member of HFPW whose two children attend HISD schools. “My son always tells me how good the food is at his school, and now I’m happy I get to taste this, to see what he raves about.”

The visitors heard from HISD Food Services Senior Administrator Brian Giles on the benefits of the facility’s production and warehousing system and recent innovations to the district’s school menu. Giles also shared the steps being taken to increase local and sustainable purchasing and food-system practices.

If you are interested in scheduling a tour, please call HISD Food Services at 713-491-5834.

More fruits and vegetables on the menu at HISD schools

HISD students returning to school this year will be welcomed back with a greater variety of healthy food selections on their cafeteria’s menu. As part of the USDA’s revised nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, the Houston Independent School District has further updated the school menu to incorporate the new meal requirements and offer students additional healthful menu items without impacting the cost of lunch for students.  

“We are committed to serving our students healthy, nutritious meals,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said.  “We have always set high nutrition standards for school meals. We support the USDA’s updated meal requirements and will continue to promote healthy eating habits among our students.”

This year’s school menus feature low- and non-fat dairy options, lean protein choices, a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, assorted whole grain products and 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added.

Some of the specific menu changes for this school year include:

  • Availability of more whole grains
  • Increase in fruits and vegetables being offered
  • Offering flavored milk in fat-free or skim varieties while unflavored or white milk will be offered as skim or 1%
  • Decreasing the number of desserts offered to allow for an increase in higher nutrient foods

In addition to adding healthier menu items, HISD Food Services is serving locally grown foods, offering new made-to-order fresh food concepts, piloting healthy fruit and veggie stations, supporting school gardens, and increasing nutrition awareness in our schools and communities.

HISD Awards Top Food Services Staff and Recognizes Cafeterias of the Year

The Houston Independent School District presented numerous awards to recognize the hard work and excellence of the district’s Food Services Department and school cafeterias.

“Providing nutritious meals to more than 200,000 students throughout the school year and summer school takes hard work, and it’s important our employees know just how valuable they are to the district,” Superintendent Terry Grier said.  “We applaud their commitment to ensuring every student has access to a good, healthy meal at school.”          

Awards were given for the following categories: Spirit of Service Award, Honorary Spirit of Service, and Team Lead of the Year.

“We are truly proud of these employees.  The positive attitude and dedication they bring to work every day is truly exceptional,” said Brian Giles, Senior Administrator for Food Services.  “These annual awards serve as a means to let them know we recognize and thank them for their hard work and efforts.”

HISD also recognized the 2011-2012 Cafeterias of the Year based on their ability meet and exceed goals set by the department and provide excellent dining atmospheres, among other guidelines.

 HISD’s Food Services Department has almost 2,000 employees who service nearly 300 schools.  These employees are tasked with providing healthy, nutritious meals for all students, teachers and staff in the district.

 Below is list of awards presented:

Spirit of Service Award         

Kandy Simmons, Herrera Elementary School
Samantha Pearson, Cook Elementary School
Alicia Villalobos, Lantrip Elementary School
Patricia Strickland, Bonner Elementary School
Antionetta Means, Frost Elementary School
Robin Morris, Hobby Elementary School
Janet Vallair Perry, Lovett Elementary School
Maggie Hughes, T.H. Rogers
Veronica Means, Blackshear Elementary School
Gilda Canales, Oak Forest Elementary School
LaDeshia Ricks, Furr High School
Tammie Green, Chavez High School
Kimberly Wilson, Westbury High School
Chiquia White, Marshall Middle School
Ola Livingston, Energized STEM


Honorary Spirit of Service

Mark Allen, Operations Area Manager
Bridgette Chenier, Operations/SEA Associate

 Cafeteria of the Year

Lee High School
Hamilton Middle School
Herrera Elementary
Durham Elementary

 Team Lead of the Year

Lanquelyn Sumler, Reagan High School
Marylyn Williams, Hartman Middle School
Danielle Wiltz, Bastian Elementary School
Eliva Jimenez, Gregory Lincoln K-8

HISD providing free summer meals to children through July 12

The Houston Independent School District will again provide free breakfast and free lunch to all of Houston’s children between the ages of 1 and 18 at more than 200 schools.

Children can stop by any participating HISD school Monday through Thursday, from June 11 through July 12, between the hours 8 and 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11  a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for lunch.

Click here (PDF) for a list of participating HISD schools and here (PDF) to see the flier.

For information on where to find free meals on Fridays and after July 12, contact the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department at 713-676-6832 or dial 2-1-1.

There is no paperwork involved and no registration is needed. A child does not have to be enrolled in summer school to receive a free meal. The only requirement for the child is to be between the ages of 1 and 18. Adults may also participate in the program by purchasing breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.25.

Questions regarding the Summer Food Service Program may be directed to HISD/ARAMARK Food Services at 713-491-5944.