NYC schools bring back chicken dumplings, French toast sticks, burritos after outcry

NYC schools bring back chicken dumplings, French toast sticks, burritos after outcry

Facing mounting criticism over cuts to popular school lunch items, New York City officials are reversing course.

School cafeterias will once again feature French toast sticks, bean and cheese burritos, and chicken dumplings, an Education Department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. Those items should reappear later this month or in early April. Officials eliminated the popular foods from school menus last month as part of a $60 million cut to the school food program, Chalkbeat first reported in January.

At a Thursday event honoring food workers, schools Chancellor David Banks said the decision to reinstate some items was due to backlash from students.

“We heard from the kids loud and clear,” he said. “I encourage every young person to continue to speak up about the changes that they hope to see in their schools.”

Still, some menu items won’t be returning yet, including bagel sticks, chicken drumsticks, guacamole, and cookies. Chris Tricarico, senior executive director of the Office of Food and Nutrition Services, said the city is “planning to look at the future menus” in the coming months to bring back additional food options.

A chorus of students, parents, and food advocates complained the cuts affected popular dishes — potentially leading students to avoid eating school lunches, or throw them in the trash.

Anayolene Denis, a school cook in Brooklyn, said there was a noticeable decrease in the number of students who ate lunch after popular items disappeared from the menu.

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