Rowan-Salisbury rolls out mobile application for school meals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

By Jeanie Groh

The Rowan-Salisbury School System is pushing for digital innovation across the district, and its child nutrition department isn’t about to be left behind.

The department introduced a mobile application called Nutrislice last week that allows students and parents to access menus, nutritional facts, ingredient lists and allergens with the touch of a button.

According to Director of Child Nutrition Libby Post, the district has been printing lunch menus for students and staff on paper for years – a costly endeavor.

“We have a lot of money in paper, said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann. “We’re trying to get away from printing paper copies of menus.”

Post said she read about a school on the west coast that uses Nutrislice and was immediately intrigued. Within 10 days of her budget presentation to Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody, they had the application up and running.

“It gives them so much more information at their fingertips,” she said.

The mobile application allows individuals to search lunch or breakfast menus by school, access nutritional information, food descriptions and see common allergens found in each food.

The Nutrislice website does those same things, but also allows the user to filter menu items by special dietary needs and see carbohydrate counts on each item.

“We want it to be a nutrition education tool as well,” Post said, adding that it can help school nurses teach diabetic students how to choose what they can eat and what they can’t.

As for cost, “it’s about a wash from what we used to print the menus,” Post added.

Another plus is that the mobile application and its website counterpart are compatible with the digital devices Rowan-Salisbury students were issued.

“It’s right in line with that [digital conversion],” Post said. “Our kids are very computer literate.”

“There’s something so cool about having it on a device,” she said.

Post added that the device allows her to update the menus any time and anywhere in the case of inclement weather or makeup days. Once the paper menus are printed, they’re final, but the application can be changed at any point in time.

The application also opens the door to educational opportunities through problem-based learning.

“It gives you an opportunity for nutrition lessons,” she said, adding it could also be used a for math lessons.

Parents can also sign up to receive the menus by email each month.

Nutrislice can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for free, or can be accessed at from a web browser.