About the School Lunch
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The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is governed by federal and state guidelines set by the US. Dept. of Agriculture and the State Department of Education. Meals are planned to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and one-third of the Recommended Dietary allowances for school-age children. The following key nutrients are the focus of our meals: calories (< 30% calories from fat, < 10% calories from saturated fat), protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A , C.
School meals are planned to encourage children to choose a variety of foods (an established dietary guideline) by making food choices on a daily basis. Our entree, side dishes and milk choices are offered to help students best meet their recommended nutrient levels especially for vitamins A, C and calcium.
Today's school cafeterias provide much more variety and nutrition than lunchrooms of old. Today's kids are much more sophisticated than we were at their age, even in term of the food they like. And with school lunch, if they don't like what they see, they won't eat it.
But don't think for a minute that school nutrition programs have sacrificed nutrition for taste just to keep kids interested! Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to plan menus that meet at least one-third of a child's Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Plus, school nutrition managers across the country are:
Implementing the principles in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Revamping children's old favorite recipes with ingredients lower in salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol and higher in fiber.
Introducing more fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains to students.
As you know, getting children to eat foods that are good for them is often a difficult task. But school nutrition managers educate students about good nutrition through special promotional and marketing campaigns to encourage lunch choices. The program offers elementary through high school students healthily, well-balanced meals with menu choices ranging from favorites such as pizza and nacho's, to sandwiches, salads and pasta. All meals are consistently low in cost and offer a variety of foods from each of the Five Food Groups. There is a smorgasbord of menu choices from several main dishes and a variety of vegetables, fruit and salads, to drink options such as flavored milks, waters and juices. And serving styles vary from the self serve line, to salads and buffets.
It's no wonder students are eating in the cafeteria more often today than ever before. The goal of the food service program is to provide students with nutritious foods that will enhance learning. We're really feeding their bodies and minds. By providing good-tasting, nutritious meals in pleasant surroundings and helping to teach students the value of good nutrition, our child's school nutrition program is an essential part of the education system. A menu of popular food items, healthy variety of food choices, an enticing atmosphere - it just may be the best deal in the country, and it's all at your local school cafeteria.