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The new lunch line

Guidelines require schools to meet stringent nutrition standards

Students throughout the country will see a new serving requirements for fruits and vegetables on their lunch tray this school year.

Students throughout the country will see a new serving requirements for fruits and vegetables on their lunch tray this school year.

— “The goal is to help children make better choices on what they are eating every day,” Marcy vonMaucher, director of Food Services for Schalmont Central School District, said. “If you start in school they can take it home with them and encourage their families to adopt the my plate goals.”

School districts knew changes were coming and many have been implementing their own changes to offer more vegetables and fruit options and ease students into dietary changes.

“Our program already included lots of fruits and vegetables,” Robert Hanlon, spokesman for Scotia-Glenville Central School District, said. “We will meet all of these obligations.”

Scotia-Glenville food services are contracted out to Chartwells, but the district’s bid requirements for the service require the company to follow guidelines of the school’s Wellness Policy. In addition to nutrition standards, the policy focuses one physical activity, nutrition education and wellness activities.

“Because we deal with a private entity we made sure that was part of their bid,” Hanlon said.

Scotia-Glenville’s food offerings already incorporate elements of the new guidelines, but Hanlon said there would likely be “some tinkering” with what is offered.

The most exciting aspect to vonMaucher is the new guidelines are brining about a nationwide change in what schools are serving children. She has already talked to people from across the country, including California and Oregon.

“It is encouraging everybody around the nation is going to be doing the same thing,” she said.

Success hinges on students

Local districts appear to be receptive of the changes, but how students will react to a new menu is unknown.

“For me, the challenge has been to find fruits and vegetables that I know kids will eat and fit into that calorie quota,” Gagnon said. “On paper … it doesn’t look terribly different, however when the kids go through the line they are going to notice the difference.”

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