Menu changes take effect as school starts

New meal regulations require menu makeovers.

Aug. 13—The new government nutrition standards for school meals go into effect this year, raising the bar for the first time in more than 15 years. Schools must meet the standards to get federal meal reimbursements.

As many schools open for the year this week, the menu changes will be on  full display. Some district have already made significant improvements in nutritional quality of meals over the last few years, and this year they're upping their game.

•Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa will be serving new entrees, including a spicy black-bean vegetarian wrap and sweet-potato-encrusted fish topped with pineapple salsa. These are being added to the district's already progressive menu, which includes mac and cheese made with pureed butternut squash, roasted broccoli and vegetarian lasagna.

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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 .

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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.

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“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.

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