Generation Z is the most culturally diverse generation, and there is a clear demand for in-school dining choices that reflect flavors and influences students experience outside the school. Global flavors spanning from Southeast Asia to North Africa are increasingly popular. With a push for high quality, seasonal choices, you can incorporate bold flavors and increase nutrition with a broad range of dishes based on cuisines rich in whole grains, fresh produce and aromatic spices. And because young people today are busier and more active than ever, these menu options are able to provide nutrient-dense choices that can keep students going from class to after-school activities.
Creative salads are a fresh opportunity to mix up your menu. It can expand your salad program beyond the boundaries of a traditional bowl of lettuce—modern salads can be cold, hot or room temperature and draw influence from around the world. Hearty grains like quinoa and brown rice, brightly colored root vegetables, flavorful spice blends and infused oils are options. While today’s K-12 set might be the trendiest to date, simple preparations are still popular. A chicken quinoa bowl, served warm and tossed with baby spinach, pesto and a shower of grated Parmesan, delivers familiar flavors with a twist. Older students will appreciate extra touches and unique ingredients—the crispy lentils tossed into the shrimp cilantro chutney salad featured here add texture to a satisfying mix of crisp greens and warm, spicy shrimp mingled with a complex and flavorful cilantro chutney.
Street-food inspirations are a win-win, offering on-trend dishes that utilize fast-casual practices like value-added ingredients and streamlined service formats. Frankies, also known as Mumbai Burritos, are an enduringly popular and flavorful Indian street food. Griddled roti or flatbread is wrapped around juicy fillings, aromatic sauces and crisp veggies; our featured recipe combines crispy potatoes with simmered chicken tikka and cucumbers with mint raita. It’s a great grab-and-go option for busy university students and athletes. Lassi is a yogurt-based blended beverage that combines fruit, honey, ice and fresh herbs or spices for a refreshing drink. Tangy, chilly and not-too-sweet, our spiced banana lassi tastes like a treat but packs protein into every glass. The optional garnish of a caramelized banana is a fun way to squeeze in another helping of fresh fruit. Here are some global flavors that are eager to please:
Chicken Tikka Frankie
This mouthwatering wrap combines tender chicken breast, marinated in yogurt and grilled before being simmered in a flavorful tikka sauce, with crunchy potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint raita and a tangy chutney.
Chicken Quinoa Bowl
Warm quinoa is quickly tossed with baby spinach, shredded chicken, pesto and red peppers then topped with grated Parmesan. This savory, warm salad bowl packs protein-rich quinoa and colorful vegetables for an appealing and healthy entrée.
Shrimp Cilantro Chutney Salad
Mixed greens are tossed with a bold cilantro chutney dressing and piled high with warm, flavorful sautéed shrimp and crispy lentils—a surprise addition that lends crunchy texture and a great source of protein.
Spiced Banana Lassi
Crushed ice and yogurt blended with creamy banana, ginger and allspice create a refreshing and not-to-sweet beverage that tastes like a treat but packs protein, calcium and potassium-rich banana into every glass.