K-12 Census: Making the effort

As the battle over menu regulations wages on, schools continue to combat increased costs and food waste.

Learning to cope

When it comes to menu requirements, school operators say that meeting sodium reduction requirements has been the biggest hurdle, followed by meeting the Smart Snacks rule. Even so, few are exiting or considering bailing out of the National School Lunch Program.

How challenging are each of the following aspects of the meal pattern regulations under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act?

  Extremely or very challenging Somewhat challenging Not very or not at all challenging
Meeting 100% whole-grain requirements 30% 40% 30%
Meeting sodium reduction requirements 58% 36% 5%
Meeting competitive food regulations, aka Smart Snacks 48% 38% 14%

Respondents were asked to rate on a point scale where 6 is extremely challenging and 1 is not at all challenging at all.

What percentage of your students qualify for free or reduced-price meals?

District Size (students) Average percentage off free/reduced-price students
Less than 2,000 52%
2,000 to 4,999 47%
5,000 to 9,999 38%
10,000 to 69,999 52%
70,000 or more 58%

Are any of the schools in your district on the Community Eligibility Provision? 

This provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act allows schools with high poverty rates to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students.

22% Yes

71% No

8% Not familiar with CEP.

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Read the full story via ktva.com .

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced its final rule on school meal standards .

The final rule builds upon the USDA's changes to school meal standards announced last year . It will keep the sodium Target 1 limits in place through school year 2023-2024, and Target 2 limits will go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year. The final sodium target (Target 3) will be eliminated.

While operators have been able to meet sodium Target 1 limits, many felt that the second two would be difficult to acheive. Over 90% of respondents in a School Nutrition...

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