City Cast

What Are CPS Students Eating This Year?

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on August 31
An aloha chicken bowl

Some CPS schools are offering aloha chicken bowls for a limited time this fall. (CPS)

School is back in session, which means a new year of new bites for CPS students. What’s on the menu? Justine Britten, a CPS nutrition program manager, gave Hey Chicago a taste.

What Are the New Menu Items?

The district found students prefer sweeter flavors for breakfast, which is why they’re introducing a whole wheat maple glazed doughnut and more smoothie flavors, Britten said. Biscuits and gravy are also a new offering.

For lunch, the district is now serving:

  • 🥟 Vegetarian potstickers
  • 🍝 Alfredo pasta
  • 🍝 Mostaccioli
  • 🍟 Chili cheese fries
  • 🌭 Vienna beef hot dog

Limited-time dishes like aloha bowls and beef gyros will be offered, too.

BBQ chicken from the district’s chef council — a group of chefs tasked with creating recipes for CPS cafeterias — is also being served.

A spicy tzatziki beef gyros

For a limited time, some CPS students can eat spicy tzatziki beef gyros. (CPS)

RIP Plant Forward Thursdays

The initiative to serve no meat in CPS cafeterias was cut last year.

“We had gotten a lot of feedback from the field that a full day of vegetarian items just wasn't doing it for a lot of students,” Ritten said.

Schools offer a hot vegetarian entree each day instead.

How Is the District Making These Decisions?

Since CPS offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, the district is providing between 240,000 and 250,000 meals a day, Britten estimated.

CPS held tastings with students over the summer and throughout last school year to get feedback, Britten said. One item the district tweaked after students called it “lousy?” Mac and cheese.

Hey Chicago

Want to know what's happening in Chicago? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Chicago. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.