What’s on the menu for the ­K-12 2022-2023 school year?

Every year, school operators look to the most recent studies on what students are craving to create trend-forward menus. Different factors affect these menus, such as preference, dietary restrictions, and economic trends. We gathered some sources together in order to paint the best picture of what K-12 students are going to be wanting in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.


Very Veg


We’ve heard it for years now, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down: from foodservice to healthcare to schools and universities, diners are looking to satisfy their plant-based fix, and the same is true for students in elementary school all the way to high school. Culinary experts and registered dieticians from Chartwells K12 found that veggie burgers are m­ore popular in schools than ever before, due to a rise in students prioritizing their health and the health of the planet.


Opting for Meatless Mondays or even making vegetarian options a permanent option for students could prove popular amongst a generation who is open to more vegetarian options.


Plantain Slices Asia 2 Slices

Veggie Pot Stickers with Big Banana® Sweet Plantain Slices


You might like: Vegan vs Vegetarian: What’s the Difference?


Cultural Cafeterias


Education in schools doesn’t have to pause at lunchtime. In fact, the cafeteria is the perfect extended classroom in schools. We all know food connects people. Nothing breaks language and cultural barriers like a shared meal, and eating someone’s traditional cuisine is a gateway into learning about that person’s customs.


According to Pinterest’s research on what people are searching on their platform, they predict that students will be open to more culturally diverse meals. For example, searches for Norwegian, Arabic, Russian and South African cuisine all more than doubled in recent years.


At MIC Food, we are committed to #BringingCulturesTogether – check out some globally-inspired school recipes below:


Yuca Frires Croutons boniato fries trays3


From left to right: (1) Spicy Chicken Pinwheels Lunchbox With Tio Jorge® Yuca Fries, Fruit and Guacamole (2) BBQ Chicken With Tio Jorge® Baked Yellow Sweet Potato Fries, Brown Rice, Cucumber, Red & Green Grapes, (3) Turkey Burger Lunchbox With Tio Jorge® Yuca Puffs, Fruit and Salad


You might like: Step Aside Potato Fries, Here Come Yuca Fries!


Brunch Brains


Looks like the nation’s obsession with #brunch has trickled its way into schools. Chartwells K12 found that favorites like breakfast burritos, sausage egg and cheese biscuits, and other breakfast sandwich concepts are popular enough to be included in not only school breakfast menus, but lunch menus as well.

If you are a school foodservice planner, try incorporating traditional breakfast elements into your lunch menu such as smoothies and smoothie bowls, or egg frittatas.


Frittata Arthur Photoshoot-2 WM



United Flavors® Italian Egg Frittata Sandwich with Sausage Patty, Guacamole, Cheese, and Tomato


Maete Sotolongo, a sales rep for Cheney Brothers specializing in Academica accounts, predicts that the low-sodium trend and the emphasis on whole grains will continue in the upcoming school year. "Schools are continuing to follow the standards of the USDA's National School Lunch Program (NSLP)," says Sotolongo "which require cafeterias to offer more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and limit sodium, calories and unhealthy fat in every school meal." These standards began in 2012 with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), and continue to be implemented in schools today.


Yuca Fries Fish Sticks_Top WM


Plantain slices School w rice bowl H-2


Fish Sticks with Tio Jorge® Yuca (Cassava) Fries and a Green Salad (above) and  Rice with Rope Vieja, Fruit and Big Banana® Sweet Plantain Slices


Ready to try MIC Food®? Contact our sales team and request samples of our low-sodium, trend-forward school items today. Or Ask Our Chef about how you can incorporate plantains, yuca and yellow sweet potato into your K-12 school menu!


Traditionally, plantains and yuca must be peeled, sliced, and cooked prior to consuming. Here at MIC Food® we are helping chefs, restaurants, industrial kitchens, retail brands, delis, and others in the food industry rethink their menus and increase appeal among ethnic and mainstream consumers alike. We provide variety of tropical fruits and vegetables that come peeled and cut, ready-to-heat and serve, saving you hours of prep time so you can focus on what matters the most: Making Every Meal Memorable.




  1. https://www.chartwellsk12.com/what-will-kids-be-eating-in-2022-chartwells-k12-reveals-top-10-food-trends/
  2. https://extension.psu.edu/food-trends-for-2022
  3. https://marketing.linq.com/2022-key-trends-report-nutrition.html