How do we “Grow Healthy Kids”?
Growing Healthy Kids ™ goes beyond just serving good food. It is helping students in the process of learning about food, learning to make good food choices, and learning how to develop a healthy food lifestyle. People get hundreds of food messages every day, and many of them do not promote healthy choices. Food marketers construct messages to sell their particular products, and all can make the claim that their particular product is just fine when consumed in moderation, and maybe even a “good part of a healthy diet.”
It can be hard for adults to sort through the conflicting messages, so imagine how difficult it is for kids. Lunchtime Solutions has the goal of working with Beresford School District to promote healthy lifestyle learning, and here are some of the things we are doing to reach that goal.
Unlimited servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, every day, every lunch, every grade level. We hear a lot these days about getting filled up with the new meal requirements. All students have around 10-12 fruit and vegetable choice every day, and they can take as much of them as they care to eat. This goes far beyond what is required for fruits and vegetables in the new meal regulations.
Locally grown foods along with the nutritional benefits explained. That is exactly what the Farmers Market Selections program does each month in your school, linking locally grown to the benefits for your students. We don’t stop with just one per month however. Many of our locations serve local foods throughout the month, based on what is available with the partnerships they form with local growers. We utilize over 40 different local growers in the six states we operate in.
Complete meals are a big part of the message. Students must purchase a complete meal before buying anything a la carte. We don’t just talk about complete meals; we recommend to our school districts that they have a policy for purchasing meals that backs that up. The value for families for the money spent is in the complete meal with fruits and vegetables, and milk. The nutritional value for the student lies in eating the variety of foods contained in the complete meal. Signage is in your dining areas that support the idea that “Complete Meals Work for Me.”
New menu items created by chefs, and reviewed by registered dietitians. Your program has it covered from both directions, creating new items for the menu that appeal to the student taste buds, expand their culinary horizons, fit the guidelines, and deliver high nutritional value. Gone is the era of 5 days per week of processed breaded chicken as the entrée. Our menus offer recipes made fresh in the kitchen, whether it be fresh baked rolls for subs, a kitchen prepared recipe of chicken stew over a fresh baked biscuit, a home-made meatloaf, or home made, fresh baked pizza. When you add unlimited fresh fruits and vegetable to those recipes, and you have not only a healthy, minimally processed school lunch, but an excellent value for families.
Menus & Links
“Next month” menus posted the 25th of current month
USDA Proposes New Rules for a la Carte Foods Nutrition Standards
US Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule on Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School was published in the Federal Register on February 8. This official version of the proposed rule can be accessed at www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/ Governance/regulations.htm
This proposed rule is now in a 60-day comment period, and after that, the input will be evaluated and a final rule will be developed. This proposed rule is complex, over 160 pages, and applies specific nutritional standards to all foods sold in schools during the school day.
Lunchtime Solutions is currently evaluating this proposed rule, and will have additional comments as more analysis is completed, and more clarifications are made by the USDA. It is important to note that by law these additional standards cannot become effective until at least one full year after the final rule is published. The earliest these could take effect is the 14-15 school year, and it may be more likely that it will be the 15-16 school year depending on when the final rule is published.
The Lunchtime Solutions program in your school has always focused much more on complete meals than the sales of a la carte, and we do not anticipate any major disruptions in your program with the new rule. As the new rule is finalized, we will give families information on how the new rule may affect the program offerings.