|School lunch menu guidelines updated|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
Schools across the country are launching a campaign to inform parents and students of the recent lunch program changes and are requesting families to take another look at school menus.
At the start of the 2012 school year, the United States Department of Agriculture released guidelines for the school lunch program, adjusting portion sizes and requirements for fruits, vegetables, grains, meat protein and milk. These adjustments resulted in many students’ favorite school lunch items getting pulled from the menu.
In December 2012, the USDA released an updated version of these guidelines that loosened the weekly limits for grain and protein intake. As a result of these changes, school meals can now include more options for student favorites like chicken sandwiches, burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, deli sandwiches, salads and wraps.
Schools will be able to serve increased portions of grains such as breads, rolls, pasta and rice, allowing menu planners to have more flexibility in offering a variety of options for meals that students will enjoy.
The meals will remain nutritious, a great value and more satisfying than ever. Food service staff and school personnel are encouraging parents to join their student for lunch at school and give school lunches a try. They are hopeful these efforts will reignite participation in the National School Lunch Program and alert students and parents to the increased variety available for lunch at their school.
All other guidelines from the initial school meal standards remain intact, including the requirement that students need to select at least 1/2 cup of a fruit or vegetable to make up a complete meal. The USDA has not stated if these guidelines will change again for next school year.
Chartwells School Dining Services, a division of Charlotte, N.C.-based Compass Group, provides dining services for over 550 public school districts, including Holyoke, serving 2.7 million students in over 6,000 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit www.eatlearnlive.com.
Holyoke Enterprise March 7, 2013