Tips on How to Create a School Menu

Plate with 'Kid's Menu' sign in child's hands
Plate with ‘Kid’s Menu’ sign in child’s hands. White planked wooden background with colorful decorations. Table setting for children – captured from above (top view, flat lay).

Whether you’re refreshing your outdated lunch menu or you’re starting from scratch, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to creating a school menu. Even taking into account how you present your menu can influence how your students and teachers will order. In fact, there’s a lot of pressure to get your school menu right as it forms long-lasting eating habits for your students – which is why it’s essential that your school menu is healthy and full of nutrients for growing bodies.

Just like any venture, planning is the recipe for success. Read on to discover some clever ideas when it comes to creating a healthy school canteen menu.

Why create a school menu?

There are many benefits of creating a school menu:

  • You can stick to budgets, even when scheduling ‘specials’
  • Order ingredients nice and early
  • Make the best use of your staff by booking according to food preparation and serving times 
  • Evaluate and improve your menu based on feedback from students and staff

Getting started

Creating your school menu doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. The aim is to design a menu that offers core items that rarely change, as well as tasty seasonals and daily specials.

Here are some things to consider when planning your menu:

What do your students want?

Consider special diets (gluten intolerant, vegetarian/vegan), as well as cultural and religious backgrounds. You’ll also want to think about meeting your students’ nutritional needs but also keep them satisfied.

What are your resources?

You’ll need to think about your finance, staffing and volunteers, preparation and cooking facilities, as well as storage space.

What is your menu structure?

Will your canteen be serving breakfast, morning tea and lunch? Will you offer hot and cold items? Will you have a fortnightly menu cycle or will it be monthly before you change it up again?

Creating the menu

Now for the fun part! Get creative with menu item names (you could even get the classrooms involved to come up with some appealing names to encourage healthier eating, such as naming broccoli ‘baby trees’). Then, look at the menu and check to make sure you don’t have repetitions of major ingredients.

The signage menu board

When it comes to designing the physical aspect of your school menu board, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The font you choose must be legible and clear. You may want to consider typing in uppercase
  • Include a short description of the menu item
  • Include the price of the menu item
  • Incorporate logos to put beside each menu item to indicate whether it is vegan, vegetarian or spicy
  • If room permits, you may wish to include a high quality image of the menu item.

You might also want to alternate with different colours per line, so the menu can be read from afar without losing one’s place.

Many schools have also decided to use a digital menu as an alternative to a print out. While this can be an investment, a digital menu board allows you to quickly and easily make changes to your menu.

Ready to manage your healthy school canteen menu?

If you’re looking for ways to organise your school canteen, let My School Connect help you. We can manage your school menu better and faster with our exciting My School Tuckshop app. With the ability to work for canteens of any size, you can easily manage and update your menu items, create healthy meal suggestions, and more. We even provide all printed and digital marketing collateral to let parents know about the new app you’re implementing in your school.With so many institutions making the switch to our app, contact us today to find out how My School Connect can simplify your school’s needs.