School lunch makeover

For the first time in 15 years, the USDA has made significant changes to school meals in an effort to curb childhood obesity.

school lunch

Increasing vegetables: Schools must offer more vegetables to all students. For K-8, schools must offer at least 3¾ cups vegetables each week and ¾ cup per day. For 9-12, schools must offer 5 cups vegetables each week and 1 cup per day. Schools must offer vegetable subgroups—dark green, red/orange, beans and peas (legumes), starchy and other—during the course of the week at minimum requirements beginning SY 2012-2013. The following amounts are the new requirements for vegetable subgroups for lunches:

Dark Green: 1⁄2 cup (all ages)
Red/orange: 3⁄4 cup (K-8); 11⁄4 cup (9-12)
Beans/peas (legumes): 1⁄2 cup (all ages)
Starchy: 1⁄2 cup (all ages)
Other: 1⁄2 cup (K-8); 3⁄4 cup (9-12)

Beans and peas (legumes) can be credited toward the vegetable component. Green peas, green lima beans and green string beans are not considered part of this subgroup. Schools can serve fresh, frozen and canned vegetables.

Grains: For NSLP, in SY 2012-2013 and SY 2013-2014, whole grain-rich products must make up half of all grain products offered. During this time only, refined grain foods that are enriched may be included. Starting SY 2014-2015, schools must offer only whole grain-rich products. A whole grain-rich food must contain at least 51% whole grains and the remaining grain content must be enriched. Starting SY 2012-2013, schools must offer a weekly grains range. For K-5, schools must offer an 8- to 9-ounce equivalent per week and 1 ounce per day; 6-8, 8- to 10-ounce equivalent per week and 1 ounce per day; and 9-12, 10- to 12-ounce equivalent and 2 ounces per day.

For breakfast, weekly grain ranges and the half of whole grain-rich requirements begin July 1, 2013. All grains offered starting in SY 2014-2015 must be whole grain-rich. The weekly grain ranges are as follows: K-5 (7 to 10 ounces per week and 1 ounce per day); 6-8 (8 to 10 ounces per week and 1 ounce per day); and 9-12 (9 to 10 ounces per week and 1 ounce per day). Once schools meet the minimum daily grain quantity of 1 ounce, they are allowed to offer a meat/meat alternative in place of grains, which counts toward the weekly grains requirement. A 1-ounce equivalent of meat/meat alternative is equal to 1 ounce of grain. The final rule does not require a meat/meat alternative daily at breakfast.

Schools may count two grain-based desserts per week as part of the weekly grains requirement.

Meat/meat alternatives: Schools must offer a minimum amount of meat/meat alternative per day for NSLP beginning SY 2012-2013. For 9-12, that amount is a 2-ounce equivalent; for K-8, that amount is a 1-ounce equivalent. Schools also must serve a weekly requirement; K-5 (8 to 10 ounces per week and 1 ounce per day), 6-8 (9 to 10 ounces per week and 1 ounce per day) and 9-12 (10 to 12 ounces and 2 ounces per day).

Schools can offer commercially prepared tofu as a meat alternative. Mature beans and dry peas (kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans/chickpeas, black-eyed peas, split peas and lentils) may be counted as meat alternatives. However, those beans and peas may not count for both a meat alternative and vegetable in the same meal.

Fluid milk: Schools may only serve fat-free flavored milk and fat-free or low-fat non-flavored milk, starting SY 2012-2013. Fluid milk must be offered with every school meal; however, students may decline milk under offer verses serve.

Water must be available in the service area, but water may not be offered in place of fluid milk for a reimbursable meal. This rule does not affect the nutrition standards for optional non-dairy drinks offered to students with special dietary needs.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources