Mushrooms in Schools (and Beyond!) Resource Round-Up
Nutrient dense and packed with flavor, mushrooms are a hidden treasure for school meals. Whether as a salad bar feature, topping on a pizza, or wrapped in a breakfast burrito, their versatility is endless. But sometimes it can be tough to come up with new menu ideas or classroom activities, with all the other things on your plate as a school nutrition professional. That’s where we come in! Mushrooms in Schools is always working to make your job easier by providing practical training and resources for cooking, teaching, and promoting mushrooms in school meals and beyond.
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know the Mushroom Council operates TWO websites to get the message out about mushrooms and their nutritional benefits, environmental sustainability, and delicious flavor? Mushroomcouncil.org (home to Mushrooms in Schools) hosts information for industry professionals, while mushroomcouncil.com is geared towards dispensing information to consumers.
Together, these sites offer a wealth of information to make it even easier for you to not only feature mushrooms in your meals, but also educate parents, students, and your school community about the power of the mighty mushroom!
School Foodservice Resources
We strive to provide relevant, timely resources to help you and your foodservice teams succeed in serving delicious meals to students. Here are just a few of the resources that do just that – and we invite you to explore all of the pages on mushroomcouncil.org – you never know what other useful tools or tips you may find!
Culinary Training Course
One of the biggest values on the site is our newly released Layers of Flavor Culinary Training Course. This free course contains 10 videos covering topics such as knife skills, serving techniques, meal planning, and procurement. Taught by school nutrition pro and mushroom lover Chef Robert, you’ll walk away with tons of practical tips and ideas for easily adding mushrooms to your menus. This training is great for all members of the foodservice team and an excellent continuing education opportunity, approved for 1 CEU by the School Nutrition Association.
You’ll also find a large (and growing!) collection of trusted, kid-friendly mushroom recipes ready to be added to your next menu. Many of our recipes come directly from school districts, showing how delicious #RealSchoolFood can be when you add mushrooms to the mix. Tip: If your students are unfamiliar with mushrooms, start by pairing them with a familiar favorite like pizza or burritos. All of our recipes are scaled and written for school foodservice use, making it easy for your staff to recreate each dish in your own school kitchens.
Sourcing, Procurement, and Handling
Another indispensable resource found on our website is our sourcing and procurement section. We’ve included advice on specific best practices for mushrooms, including sourcing local, wholesale, and using the DoD Fresh program. Maintaining quality and extending shelf life are also important topics in school foodservice operations, and our handling and storage resources include tips and posters to ensure your mushrooms are always tip-top!
We all know nutrition education happens both in and outside of the cafeteria. We have resources available to connect what you are serving in the cafeteria to what students are learning in the classroom. It’s also important for students to understand where their food comes from and how it impacts the environment and the community – a concept known as food literacy.
To help you and your teachers foster food literacy while also teaching core concepts like language arts, math, and science, check out our food literacy lessons. These lessons cover how mushrooms grow, how to classify mushrooms, and how to cook with them in the kitchen. The curriculum is broken into three age groups: Preschool, K-2nd, and 3rd-5th grade; and each lesson is complete with a PowerPoint presentation, activity, and handout to take home.
You may also want to check out our “All About Mushrooms” page for additional mushroom facts and resources you can use in educational newsletters, food demonstrations, and more.
We also have resources to help you spruce up your packaging and cafeteria walls. We have a section of the site dedicated to marketing materials that have labels, stickers, signs, posters, and even cute mushroom characters! Kids are very visual, and having colorful, engaging pictures and signs helps them become more familiar with mushrooms.
In the school nutrition industry, parents are just as much the consumer as the students. We encourage you to share the various resources from the mushroomcouncil.com website in newsletters, on menus, or in-person open houses to educate and promote your work in the cafeteria. When students sample and learn about mushrooms in school, they’ll be eager to share what they’ve learned at home. The site contains recipes that parents and children can create together. In addition, we have an entire Youtube Channel with fun, hands-on mushroom-focused videos featuring recipes, mushroom facts, and more.
A few other useful highlights include our mushroom varieties page with nutritional information, preparation tips, and recipes for 9 different mushroom varieties; information about the many health benefits of mushrooms; and mushroom sustainability facts.
We Have a Mushroom Resource for That!
No matter where you start and what you need, we’re confident you’ll be able to find valuable resources across our websites for featuring mushrooms in your schools!
Is there a resource you’d love to see us develop? Do you have a resource you’d like us to feature on our website so it can be shared with other districts? We’d love to hear your ideas! Send us an email at SchoolMeals@mushroomcouncil.org.