L.A. rethinks its healthy menu after participation drops

Dec. 19—Following a drop in participation, the newly created, healthier menus at the Los Angeles Unified School District will be altered.

In preparation for new meal patterns regulations under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the foodservice department at LAUSD created new menus for the 2011-2012 school year. The district removed entrées such as pizza and chicken nuggets and added more plant-based and ethnic items.

Before the new menus were implemented, David Binkle, deputy director of food service, told FSD he expected a 20% decrease in participation and a 43-cent per meal increase to produce the healthier menus.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the department originally saw around a 13% decrease in participation. Now, that rate has recovered a little to between a 5% and 6% decrease in participation.

Binkle told the paper that the department would revamp its menus, adding items like pizza, made with a whole-wheat crust, low-fat cheese and low-sodium crust, and hamburgers offered daily. The department also is removing some of the ethnic dishes, including beef jambalaya, vegetable curry and pad Thai.

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