Update to the National School Lunch Program
After the initial period of implementation, the Federal government sought feedback from State agencies and food service departments on the new requirements. Both State agencies and schools identified significant challenges implementing the smaller grain and protein serving size requirements. As a result, schools that exceed the previously established weekly and daily maximums for grains and protein will still be considered compliant. This means that Weston is able to resume serving quantities of grain and protein that the students were accustomed to last year.
Why did the menus format change?
In response to requests from parents and students in the district, we are now providing basic nutritionals for all school meals served across the district. Food Service feels that by sharing this information, we are creating transparency, and trust with our customers. We also want parents and students to be able to make informed decisions about their diets.
Why are there multiple menus for each school?
There is a main meal offered at each school as well as daily alternate meal choices Each menu gives you a unique snapshot of an entire meal, complete with nutritionals. For example, if your child is in an elementary school, you will see the hot entrée, all of the sides, and milk that come with that entree. The nutritional information provided is for the complete meal chosen– entrée, sides, and milk. In the same way, each of the alternate choices is
shown with all nutrition information.
How was the nutrition information put together?
Weston Public School Food Service uses a USDA-approved software called NutriKids. Food Service enters in each ingredient, recipe, and serving size to calculate the nutritionals for each day. We are committed to serving the menu as it appears but occasionally there are circumstances beyond our control when we have to substitute another ingredient or change the menu.
We are excited to share this new tool with you and hope that you find it helpful. If you have further questions please feel free to contact Asta Garmon at 781-786-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Tess Sousa at 781-786-5235 or email@example.com.
Taste Test Tuesdays have taken off! Every Tuesday since October 2, 2012. Asta Garmon has overseen the taste testings in each school. To date students have tasted kale chips, Napa cabbage, Cole slaw, butternut squash and carrots. Parent volunteers assist in offering samples to students during lunch periods and recording findings. Reaction from students, faculty and staff has been positive.
Some of our favorite comments are:
Of Kale Chips it was said: “Tastes like calamari“ “No flavor” “Amazing” “Yummy! Tastes like seaweed!” “A little sour, salty, and peppery”
Of Napa Cabbage it was said: “Spicy! Good!” “It tastes like fish” “It looks tasty” “Really good. I’m surprised”
Weston PTO hosted two forums in the HS Media Center on October 9 and 10, 2012. These meetings were designed to share information about the recent changes to federal and state nutrition standards as well as provide some background information about how the Food Service department operates. Foodservices’ Tess Sousa and Asta Garmon were joined by Health/PE staff Mitch Finnegan and Danielle Cooper. The event was moderated by Ali Farquhar. Community members gathered to hear a brief presentation followed by a question and answer period.
A brief synopsis follows:
The new federal guidelines for lunch were designed to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, while limiting fat, sodium and sugar. All reimbursable school meals are made up of five components in portions appropriate for age/grade. The components are
• Grades K-5 : 550-650 kcals
• Grades 6-8: 600-700 kcals
• Grades 9-12: 750-850 kcals
The main part of each meal, also called the “center of the plate,” is frequently the preferred choice over the other items on the plate. This may include pizza, a barbecue pulled chicken sandwich, or beef stew. It is typically the protein and grain portion of the meal.
While still encouraging students to eat fruits and vegetables, Food Service offers a second portion of “center of the plate” foods separate from the reimbursable meal. This is sold at a lower price. Our hope is that this second serving, at a reduced cost to students, will limit waste and provide students with a more filling meal. The cost of the second “center of the plate” serving will vary based on the cost of the food.
The Middle and High School cafeterias re-open after school. The offerings include a variety of bagels, turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, fresh whole fruits, hummus with pretzels, and a variety of low fat, low sodium, and whole grain chips.
The previous daily minimum for students K-12 was 1.5 to 2 ounces of meat or meat alternate, with no maximum weekly serving. The new standard restricts meat or meat alternates at 8-10 ounces weekly for K-8 and 10-12 ounces 9-12. Past regulations provided minimum values while the new regulations provide maximum weekly allowances.
As a result of the community conversation, the Food Service Department will seek a sports nutritionist consultant to review the new regulations and current offerings to provide advice on how to meet athlete’s nutritional needs. Currently, protein rich foods such as hummus, beans, meat, cheese, and yogurt are offered at the Middle and High Schools.
Foodservice offers an eight week cycle menu
which is designed to provide favorites at least once monthly. On average, 50% of the population purchase reimbursable meals and the remaining sales are a la carte offerings. The challenge is to offer more nutritious foods that students find palatable. Soups and stews are an excellent way to introduce beans, legumes and a variety of vegetables. However, the majority of students prefer sandwich type meals or salads. A survey will be done to determine favorites and request suggestions. At the High School and Middle School we have had good results with the following “all-in-one” options: Vegetable Lo-Mein, Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Stew, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Curry, Lasagna, Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken/Ziti & Broccoli, Baked Potato with all the fixings, and Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Please send your favorite recipes to the Foodservices Suggestion Box at firstname.lastname@example.org