TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services

Food & Nutrition Services

Welcome to the Food & Nutrition Services department of the Traverse City Area Public Schools district. We are very proud of our operations and take pride in offering nutritious and delicious meals every day. We encourage input from all of our customers, so feel free to contact TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services Director Tom Freitas at 231.933.1911 with any ideas, suggestions or comments. We look forward to making your dining experience enjoyable.

Our Mission

The mission of TCAPS’ Food and Nutrition Services is to improve the health of students by providing flavorful and nutritious meals at an affordable cost. Our goals are to provide service to the school, to enhance the educational environment, and have a positive impact on the community.  

TCAPS Wellness Policy

Meal Programs

Summer Meal Programs

  • The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a national program that offers nutritious free meals for children and teens, ages 18 and younger, at several locations throughout the nation during the summer while school is out of session. External LinkUse this mapping tool to find the location nearest you.

2018-2019 School Year News

High School Students Enjoy Traditional Mardi Gras Meal

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services staff serve a special Mardi Gras meal for high school students

On Fat Tuesday, March 5th, TCAPS' Food & Nutrition Services staff surprised students at both Central High School and West Senior High School by serving up a traditional Mardi Gras menu for lunch: Options included: 

  • Alligator and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya
  • Chicken Po Boy with remoulade sauce
  • Pollack Po Boy with remoulade sauce
  • Hush Puppies
  • Collard Greens

Both staff and students enjoyed the opportunity for a change from the usual routine
and had a great time and a delicious meal. 

Jump with Jill Comes to TCAPS February 19-21, 2019

Traverse Heights students participating in Jump with Jill assembly Silver Lake students participating in Jump with Jill assembly

Jump with Jill, the world's only rock & roll nutrition show, performed at five TCAPS elementary schools February 19th - 21st. Now in its 11th year, External LinkJump with Jill uses singable anthems to transform nutrition education into a live concert. Created by a registered dietitian and professional musician, Jump with Jill gets students moving and learning about health in a way they will never forget. The Emmy-nominated nutrition education program has been performed all over the world for more than a million students. Performances took place at Silver Lake Elementary School, Traverse Heights Elementary School, Central Grade School, Westwoods Elementary School, and Blair Elementary School. 

Blair students participating in Jump with Jill assembly Central Grade students participating in Jump with Jill assembly

Westwoods students participating in Jump with Jill assembly Westwoods students participating in Jump with Jill assembly

10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms Program

10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and farms 2018-2019 grantee - this school proudly serves food grown by Michigan farms

News! Michigan’s innovative 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms program is continuing—and it’s expanded. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the $16.8 billion education budget on June 28, including a $575,000 line item for the 10 Cents a Meal program. Michigan Prosperity Regions 2, 4, 6, 8, and 9 are now eligible to receive 10 Cents funding. TCAPS has been approved for the  PDF DocumentState's 10 cent reimbursement for purchasing local produce pilot again this year. We received $24,400 for the 2017-18 school year and have requested $30,000 in our grant application for this year.

The 10 cents a meal program began six years ago with a local 10 county pilot in which TCAPS participated. It was started by Groundworks through community donations. That program grew to become a state-funded pilot three years ago. PDF DocumentView the 2018-2019 10 Cents a Meal Legislative Report.

TCAPS has had a farm to school program for 16 years.

New Menu System

We have introduced a new menu system that gives parents all the information they need to make sure their children are getting a nutritious meal. This system allows the customer to filter out food by allergen and monitor carbs by selection of the food chosen to eat in that day’s meal. Please download the phone application of this menu so that you have it with you at all times. Learn more at

Students to Participate in Healthy Taste Tests

We will be expanding our taste testing of healthy produce and other products to encourage student to try foods they may otherwise not try and possibly find new food that they enjoy.

Cafeteria ID Cards

All elementary buildings now have an ID card system in the cafeteria to allow students to get through the lunch line quicker and have more time to eat.

Got Milk?

We have received a grant from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to promote our milk sales we have received insulated milk barrels and wraps to put on our milk coolers.

Milk Barrel Wraps

Food & Nutrition Services

We will continue to look for new and nutritious foods and innovative ways to enhance our customer's dining experience.

Vending Machines Offer Healthy Alternatives

Having access to healthy food items and meals outside of the normal cafeteria operating hours just got a little bit easier. TCAPS has installed two new vending machines in the cafeteria at both Central High School and West Senior High School as part of a pilot program. The vending machines contain healthy food items that meet the same federal nutrition regulations as all other food sold in the school cafeteria. Sample items include: salads, yogurt, sandwiches, fruit, granola bars, etc.

Students and staff can purchase snack items as well as meals qualifying under the Federal Free and Reduced Price School Meals Program using either cash or their meal accounts. For students who qualify for free/reduced meals, the purchase would count towards their daily meal allowance.


Food & Nutrition Services – Green Efforts

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services takes great pride in minimizing our environmental footprint in Traverse City. In our buildings using disposables, 95% of the plates and bowls are biodegradable. We will continue to strive for 100% biodegradable product usage. All of our buildings are contracted with a waste management company who sorts and recycles all of our waste. We are committed to the continuous greening of our schools.

Bringing Local Foods to Our Schools

TCAPS participates in the “External LinkCultivate Michigan” program, an effort to bring more local foods to institutions. Our goal is to purchase 20% of our food products from the state of Michigan by 2020. We are currently partnering with Cherry Capital Foods, Gordon Food Service, and individual growers to achieve this goal.

Gordon Food Service also has a program focusing on local food purchases, called “Near Buy“.  View listings of Michigan produced foods and products purchased by TCAPS:

cultivate-Michigan- Supply, source and serve local food           Cherry-Capital-Foods-logo

     gordon-food-service logo                                    

Local Food Partners

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services is proud to be working with local food vendors this year.  We would like to recognize these area businesses and look forward to future partnerships.

  • Aunt Millie's Bakery
  • Cherry Capital Foods
  • Farm to Freezer Northwest Michigan
  • Food Rescue
  • Louie's Meats, Inc.
  • MI Farm Coop
  • Pepsi
  • Prairie Farms
  • Stone House Bread

Local Equipment Repair and Supply Partners

stafford smith, Inc. logo

grand traverse refrigeration, Inc logohobart

Anti-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: External, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  • Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  • Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  • Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.