S.C. lunches healthy, but nutritionists say not enough

Nutritionists want more done in terms of healthy options.

March 19—Schools across York County offer salad bars and whole grain bread at lunch. Dietitians lead nutrition lessons urging children to make “healthy choices.” Some schools even let students take a second trip through the lunch line for extra helpings of fruits and veggies.

Such efforts are promising, but nutrition advocates say menus dominated by processed, fast food fare undermine those noble attempts and leave school meals a long way from healthy.

New federal rules, which start taking effect this year, are meant to improve school food in the long run. They require schools to double the amount of fruits and vegetables served, increase whole grains, serve only low fat or fat-free milk and limit trans fats. By 2022, schools must cut the amount of sodium served in half.

Most York County schools are well on the way to meeting some of those rules, food service directors said. They serve fewer fried foods and offer more fruits and vegetables. Pizza crusts and burger buns are whole grain. Cheese and milk are low fat. Corn dogs are actually turkey dogs with “whole grain breading.”

Still many meals include processed, pre-packaged products resembling what’s typically served at drive-through windows – precisely the type of food health advocates urge children to steer clear of.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

Industry News & Opinion

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., recently hosted a weeklong program called Weigh the Waste, which aimed to show students how much food gets wasted in dining halls, The Breeze reports.

Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

School officials hope that the annual program, which it’s hosted since 2015, will remind dining hall patrons to only take as much food as...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
salad chicken

Vegetables and grains have stepped into the spotlight, thanks to the “flipping the plate” trend, but protein is still an important part of a balanced diet. Sources including meat, cheese, nuts, and meat alternatives such as tofu and tempeh can and should still be on the plate—albeit as a side dish or topping rather than the main event.

“Whatever we do [as FSDs] needs to be rooted in the culture, and today’s culture is all about healthy eating and plant-focused meals,” says Chris Studtmann, executive chef at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “A recipe is an idea; culture is...

FSD Resources