You may have heard that there will be new federal requirements for school meals. Knowing what changes were likely to take place, we have gradually been making changes so it wouldn’t be such a shock to the students when the new requirements went into effect.
Students will now be required by the USDA to have ½ cup of fruit or vegetables on their tray for it to count as a full meal. Previously we encouraged students to take a fruit or vegetable but they were only required to have 3 of the 5 components on their tray, a fruit or vegetable were not required. We plan to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to give the students more to select from.
The amount of food and calories offered at each meal will be based on three different age groups; grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Before, we only had two age groups which left some of the younger students with way too much food, and some of the older with not enough. You’ll see that on the menus, many of our items are the same, but portion sizes and recipes will be designed to meet the specific age groups.
We need to offer ½ cup of fruit to grades K-8 and 1 cup of fruit to grades 9-12.
We need to offer ¾ cup of vegetables to grades K-8 and 1 cup of vegetables to grades 9-12.
We are now limited as to how much meat/meat alternate (cheese, yogurt, etc.) and grains we can offer. Previously, we only had a minimum to meet, but could offer more. Now we have to stay within the specified ranges for each age group. This means main entrees may not be as large as they have been. Remember, though, that there are more fruits and vegetables available than before. We’ll have to be a little creative to make this work, but have no doubt we can make each meal something our students will enjoy.
USDA Changes We Have Made:
All grains offered (with the exception of pasta) must be whole grain rich. All grains offered meet this requirement. Pasta is mixed 50/50.
We must offer vegetables from the following groups each week: dark green, orange/red, beans, starchy, and other vegetables. We’ve been working towards this goal by serving fresh veggies with low-fat ranch, switching all lettuce to a higher mix of romaine & spinach, and offering beans/legumes.
Starting July 1st, 2014 all menus must meet USDA’s first sodium target. Working with our manufacturers we have met this target with what we feel are some very good products for our students.
Any foods sold in schools during the school day must be “whole grain rich” or have the first ingredient be listed as a fruit, vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, or be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit or vegetable. The school day is considered 12:01am until one half-hour after the last bell.
How You Can Help:
Encourage your children to try new things at home and school.
Join your child for lunch and/or breakfast.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!
Thank you, we look forward to serving our students of the Mandan Public Schools a good and nutritious meal each and every school day!