After Having Menu's Reduced, Omaha Public Schools Students Could Soon See More Variety

Nov. 4, 2020, 2:17 p.m. ·

Students in a classroom. (Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah from Pexels)

Children who receive food through Nebraska’s largest school district will soon get more variety on their menus.

Omaha Public Schools Nutritional Services Director Tammy Yarmon told NET News up until recently, the district has been limited in what they’ve been able to offer students, some of whom rely on school meals for daily nutrition.

“When we opened up with children in the classroom, not knowing what it would look like, we cut it back to quick, easy to serve items like hamburger on a bun, pizza, chicken nuggets, as well as fruits and vegetables," said Yarmon. “Easy serve items.”

More involved meals, like homemade pizzas and “Macho Nachos” were taken off the menu while the district and manufacturers adjusted to the new normal.

“With the manufacturers also in a COVID model, they might not have their crews working everyday and so there's a greater chance of being cut product depending upon what happens,” said Yarmon.

Now, things are changing.

Supply chains for certain ingredients are more stable, opening the possibility for more “home cooked” foods like cream turkey and chili with cinnamon rolls, said Yarmon.

“It’s a popular item, our chili, because it’s all homemade from scratch” she said. “And you know, that’s a part that I think is important too for kids...that they have that home cooked freshness.”

Some items, like certain leafy greens and broccoli from the west coast, remain elusive, but Yarmon suggested that’s due more to droughts and wildfires than the pandemic. Other items were dropped completely or put on hiatus.

Even with COVID-19 surging in Douglas County, Yarmon remains confident the district will be able to continue feeding hungry children well into summer.

“Everyday is always an adventure,” Yarmon said. “The one thing that we’ve learned as a group is that we have to be nimble and we have to be flexible and we have our eye out there on that child.’”