Quick Recess: The Best Fruits For School Lunches

Kids don’t want to wait for their lunches, but then again, who does? Balancing nutrition, accessibility, and cost all while appealing to kids’ unique taste buds is no simple feat, but luckily for school chefs everywhere, these fruits are here to help. Whether you’re planning an entirely new menu or looking to add some new seasonal fruits for next quarter, consider bringing these to the plate.

Tangerines

With their gentle peels and wonderful sweetness, tangerines are one of the best all around fruits for kids. They’re flexible too, and can appear on dishes throughout the day with little to no menu alteration.

  • Seasonality: October-January
  • Favorite Varieties: Dancy, Murcott

Grapes

Tasty, refreshing, and fun to eat, grapes are a wonderful low cost fruit. They make great dessert substitutes as well; try popping some into the freezer the night before for a frozen treat your students will love.

  • Seasonality: May- December
  • Favorite Varieties: Concord, Sugar Crisp

Pears

Pears are essential for their surprising versatility. From muffins to sandwiches, pears are great ways to mix up everyday dishes. Better yet, their season runs parallel to the school year, ensuring that you can have fresh pears any time!

  • Seasonality: September-May
  • Favorite Varieties: Bartlett, Bosc

Blueberries

The nutritional profile of blueberries is almost tailor-made for budding minds. Blueberries are jam packed with flavanoids that help cognitive function, improving memory, comprehension, and reasoning in the minds of students. Plus, their small size makes them an easy fit for any plate.

  • Seasonality: May-October
  • Favorite Varieties: Bluegold, Ozark Blue

Apples

Classrooms and apples go hand in hand. With over 100 commercial varieties (plus thousands more worldwide), there’s an apple for every child’s tastebuds. Beyond their varied flavor, apples can be used in a score of kid-friendly dishes like apple donuts and fruit leather.

 

  • Seasonality: Year-Round
  • Favorite Varieties: Fuji, Opal, Honeycrisp
    • Pro Tip: Save some time and prepare the Opal variety beforehand; it’s naturally non-browning so it won’t change color throughout the day!