School Menus to Offer a More Healthy Selection

Food Service Directors from the area schools are sending in their school lunch menus for the upcoming school year already and those are available here.

You’ll notice there are more fruits and vegetables on the menu this year. The menus are designed to encourage students to make healthier choices.

More vegetables are being offered to students to help improve healthy eating and to tackle child obesity issues. The mandate is coming from the USDA which is proposing fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits on almost all foods offered at school. The agency wants to provide healthier snack foods consisting of whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or proteins. Beverage portion size and caffeine content will also be controlled according to age group.

According to the USDA, meats or meat alternatives, grains, a fruit, vegetables and fluid milk are required to be served for lunch. A student must take at least three components in the required serving sizes. For breakfast, the three required food components to be served include meats/meat alternatives, juice/fruit/vegetable and milk. A student must be offered at least four food items and must select at least three food items.

This school year, students are not required to take a minimum of a half-cup of fruit or vegetables. The USDA is attempting to reduce food waste with its Option versus Serve provision in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.