You may have heard that there will be new requirements for school meals. The United States Department of Agriculture released new meal patterns for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program in January of 2012. These meal patterns based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines began to be implemented in the 2012–13 school year.
The new meal patterns feature:
-an increase in the number of servings and variety of fruits and vegetables
-specific vegetable subgroups including dark green, red/orange, and legumes
-an increase in the offerings of whole grain foods
-a variety of plain low-fat or fat free; or flavored fat free milk
-calorie ranges based on the age of children
-a focus on reducing saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
The new requirements are great news for our students! The new requirements will help North Syracuse Central School District build on the work we are already doing to provide more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthier entrees in our school cafeterias.
Students will now be required to have ½ cup of fruit or vegetable on their tray for it to count as a full meal. Anything less than a full meal will be charged as individual items. We plan to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to give students more options in the hopes that choosing fruits and vegetables will be easy.
Schools are now limited on how much meat/meat alternate and grains that can be offered. This means that some of the main dishes may not be as large as they have been in the past. Remember, though, there will be more fruits and vegetables available, to fill out the meal and ensure students have plenty to eat!
In North Syracuse, we have already made progress toward meeting the new requirements.
What Are We Doing:
· Fresh fruit are served every day.
· Sandwiches are served on whole wheat bread.
· All pasta served is whole grain.
· Pizza crust are whole grain
· Milk that is available is only low-fat or fat-free.
· Main dishes have been changed to reduce sodium.
· Dark green and orange vegetables are served on a weekly basis.
· Dried beans and legumes have been incorporated into more of the recipes.
· Chef salads are available every day that include romaine lettuce and spring mix.
We’ll face some challenges to meet the new requirements on a tight budget, but our school nutrition program will work hard to make these healthy changes for our students and make each meal something our students will enjoy!
How Can You Help?
The school nutrition program needs the support of parents to succeed! Parents can support this effort by encouraging your child to give the healthier meals a try, and talking about the healthy options, or simply introducing your child to these healthy changes at home. You are your child’s primary role model, when they see you choose healthy foods they are more likely to choose them as well.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!
Wendy Swift, 218-2175