Wyoming school officials prepare for new breakfast regulations

The new rules include a maximum calorie count for meals served.

Sept. 23—High-pitched voices echoed in the cafeteria. Students flung backpacks beneath their feet or on benches as they found seats.

The kids knew the drill for breakfast at North Casper Elementary School on Monday morning, where 85 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch and between 80 and 100 students eat a school-provided breakfast each day. One by one tables were released. Students lined single file for a meal.

Lunch clerk Kay Kunckel greeted each student at the front of the line, checking names off a list she kept on an iPad.

"Oatmeal?" Kunckel asked one boy hesitating on his decision between two lines of trays. One line offered hot oatmeal, the other cold cereal.

"It's pretty good,” Kunckel said, helping the student take a tray.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has kept a closer eye on school food programs such as North Casper’s during the past three years. As part of a federal initiative to combat growing rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, new regulations have increasingly specified what should go into meals served under the USDA's decades-long National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

FSD Resources