Smart Lunches Blog

Culinary Philosophy

Jul 1, 2020 10:45:21 AM / by Rob Teplansky

Rely on Smart Lunches for Quality, Reliability, and Value, values reflected in our Culinary Philosophy, a statement clarifying our commitment to the preschools and childcare centers that partner with us and the kids and parents who depend on us.

louis-hansel-shotsoflouis-ucY_-U1dM8U-unsplashKids are tough customers. From “picky eaters” to food allergies and sensitivities, choking hazards and cultural and regional food and flavor preferences, we have a lot to consider. Parents have serious concerns about nutrition, childhood obesity, and sustainability, as well as the impact of processed foods and artificial ingredients in the food supply. Now, add to that the worries and risks of ensuring a safe, hygienic environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last, but not least, for us to meet our commitment to our customers, the prepared meals must be affordable and maintain their quality and integrity as they are delivered from our kitchens to your schools. It’s a lot to consider.

Food Safety

When it comes to serving kids, there can be no compromise where food safety is concerned. Whether the meal is cold or hot, every meal is prepared to a safe temperature and maintained at a safe temperature until it arrives at your child’s school.

In accordance with COVID-19 food safety best practices, kitchen and delivery staff have their temperatures and health status recorded daily. Employees wear masks and gloves in the kitchen, wash hands thoroughly and regularly, and practice social distancing. Food is delivered to the door of the school by a masked and gloved employee, who will drop off the full food totes prior to picking up the prior day’s empty totes for sanitation. All food preparation and delivery surfaces and equipment are sanitized at least once daily and more often as appropriate.

Every recipe is double- and triple-checked for potential food allergens, which are flagged in our ordering portal and then periodically reviewed. There are no nuts in any of our recipes.

We strictly follow USDA guidelines for children at preschools and childcare centers, and we take pains to avoid choking hazards.


We go to extraordinary lengths to ensure our food is safe, but we’re equally passionate about delivering food kids love to eat. To give kids the nutrition and energy they need, they must eat the meals that are served. We constantly check with schools about our menu selections, their preferences, and the preferences of their children. When we introduce a new selection, we look for feedback from the kids. We’ve learned that nothing is going to knock chicken nuggets and mac & cheese off the list of kid favorites, but we are committed to providing kids with opportunities to broaden their palates by offering selections like Fiesta Chicken, Lentil Bolognese, mild curry dishes, hummus, and fried rice.


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You are trusting us to serve your children delicious, wholesome, and kid-friendly meals.  Our kitchens are led by trained chefs who are passionate about their work and about good food. We make meals daily from small batch recipes that are USDA compliant.  Our food is made with whole grains, lean proteins and colorful fruits and vegetables.  We grill, bake, boil, and sauté, but do not deep fry any food.  And we deliver lunches hot and on time every working day of the year. 

Our fruit is fresh cut in our kitchens or served in its own juice, not syrup, and our vegetables are fresh or fresh frozen.  Our chicken is baked with kosher salt and a little oil - that’s it.  And what we don’t make in our kitchens, we source with a mind to cleaner, less complicated labels.  We subscribe to time honored cooking methods and we use understandable, common sense ingredients.  We avoid high fructose corn syrup and work to create meals that are good for your kids and that they will enjoy eating.  So, we have nuggets, fish sticks, and mac and cheese – but also veggie chili, curry chicken, and teriyaki veggie noodles.

We are Smart Lunches - old fashioned cooking, a little smarter.

If you'd like to download a PDF of our Culinary Philosophy, click here.

Rob Teplansky

Written by Rob Teplansky