A la carte lunches are out at Calif. high school

Administrators say complete meals offer more balanced diet.

March 20—Starting April 2, the Brentwood, Calif. campus will become the first of Liberty Union High School District's three mainstream schools to eliminate the option of ordering food a la carte and instead make the food part of require a balanced meal that will include fruit, vegetables and milk.

Freedom and Heritage High Schools will follow suit this fall.

"Now you'll have to be nutritious," responds Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Gene Clare when students tell him they only want a slice of pizza.

It's not that every item on the current menu represents a step toward obesity: Kids can order chicken Caesar salad, fruit bowls and yogurt layered with granola and fruit.

Moreover, no one serving may have more than 400 calories or contain more than 4 grams of fat per 100 calories, according to state Department of Education rules.

In addition, since school started in August, the district has replaced high-sugar Gatorade with a less-fattening version, swapped out greasy potato chips for baked ones and substituted whole wheat bread for white.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

FSD Resources