Backpacks, clothes and school supplies aren’t the only new items awaiting students this year as they head back to school this fall. Under the new Federal guidelines school lunches received an overhaul, the first revamping in 15 years.

Changes students will see on their plates are part of the healthy school lunch initiative launched by the First Lady as part of her efforts to address childhood obesity. The new guidelines are based on the 2009 recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

Although this is step in the right direction to provide nutritional modeling for students as well as increased nutritional content, many schools fear the new standards will increase the amount of food students waste. Students brainstorming the marketing position of the program agree how the menu is promoted to students and parents will have an impact on the consumption of the foods.

“If I know the recipe is a Rachel Ray recipe like they had at the school she visited and not just something the cook threw together, I would probably try the food,” stated Alsyssia Crankle, a middle school student.

Students suggested the following for cafeterias to consider:

  • Make the menu look interesting in presentation like they do in restaurants
  • Try and feature real chefs’ recipes.
  • Have a smile on your face when you serve the food.
  • Ask the students what they like and if they don’t like it try something else on the menu.
  • Put interesting names on it. Don’t just serve tacos have a name on them like Taco Bell does.
  • Host a student food naming contest for the menu items.
  • Let students write the description for the foods on the menu and post it for other students to read so they know its teen approved.

While all of these ideas may not be ideas readily adaptable for all schools, the idea of giving the marketing and promotion to a group of students for brainstorming certainly taps into the real-world skills used by entrepreneurs. Who knows? They just might create the next best-selling school cafeteria brand.