Hummus. Rice bowls. Sweet and sour chicken. Super nachos.
These are among the new items being offered in Lawrence public school cafeterias this year in an effort to provide students with a wider variety of meal choices.
"We try to make sure we have meatless options every day, and hummus is one of those," said Lindsey Morgan, the Lawrence school district's supervisor of food services and dietician.
She added that the school district is also constantly trying to increase the number of meals that are made from scratch, like the lasagna and cheese quesadillas, as well as the amount of local ingredients used, including produce from school gardens.
But Lawrence public school students shouldn't see too many changes in their culinary options this year, because the district was already in compliance with new federal nutrition regulations.
As part of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, public schools must now serve each student a half-cup of fruit or vegetables with breakfast and offer healthier snacks. Under the law, schools were already required to provide each student a half-cup of fruit or vegetables with lunch.
Morgan said Lawrence public schools were already doing those things and that the district has long offered nutritious snacks and balanced meals.
"A while back we took out all the Little Debbies and ice cream," she said. "Lawrence is really unique in that they pushed us to go a little further than some other districts."