School meals to feature less salt this year

Moore County schools works to reduce salt without sacrificing taste.

SOUTHERN PINES, S.C.—The debate between “good tasting” and “good for you” will be in full swing this fall in Moore County school cafeterias.

Those who plan and prepare school meals are dealing with new guidelines this year that limit the amount of salt in meals, which means a challenge when it comes to making school lunches kids will actually eat.

Moore County Child Nutrition Director Amanda Cagle said the federally mandated regulation to lower the sodium content of school meals by 10 percent, creates a challenge when school cafeterias must compete against the high fat and sodium-laced fast foods that many students prefer.

"Adjusting sodium levels in school foods has been underway for about 10 years as the federal government has gradually lowered the amount," Cagle said. "The federal regulations to lower sodium levels by another 10 percent took effect July 1, 2014, but we were proactive and began implementation during the last school year.“

Congress passed the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act in 1994, in which new regulations issued an update of nutrition standards for school meals to make them consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

FSD Resources