Districts making healthy strides but need equipment

Published in FSD Update

Eighty-eight percent of districts need at least one new piece of equipment to serve nutritious foods, according to new study.

Much has changed in school foodservice since the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. Many districts are making great strides to menu healthier meals, but the majority of those districts say they need some help to better enable them to serve better-for-you options to students.

Eighty-six percent of schools are serving healthy meals that meet the new meal pattern requirements as specified by the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, according to a new study released by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

But in order to help them serve these healthier meals, districts need some assistance, the study found. Eighty-eight% say they need at least one piece of kitchen equipment and 55% need infrastructure changes, such as electrical upgrades.

“Districts have made great strides, but there are still some challenges,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the project, on a conference call with media. Donze Black said the project was done to assess the readiness of districts to implement the new meal pattern regulations.

Other nationwide study highlights include:

  • The five most-needed pieces of equipment cost less than $2,000
  • Storage and equipment for fruits and vegetables is the No. 1 need
  • Districts need an average of $37,000 per school to purchase needed equipment

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