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New School Meal Requirements

Description: View detailsSchool Meals are Changing - New School Meal Requirements

You may have heard the proclamation by new Secretary of Agriculture (former Georgia governor) Sonny Perdue.  While some people anticipated a massive rollback of nutritional standards, what we’ve heard is more of a measured approach –slowing the implementation of already scheduled sodium and whole grain restrictions. Secretary Perdue also mentioned the introduction of 1% chocolate milk –and Commerce City Schools has applied for permission to serve the improved chocolate milk. Otherwise, our requirements for school meals remain the same. Here are the basics of the current meal pattern.

Some of the Requirements Include

  • Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables

  • Reducing the sodium in meals over the next 10 years

  • Setting calorie limits for the first time

  • Increasing whole grains

  • Limiting the amount of meat/meat alternatives and grains

Students are 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 at as individual items.  We 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 Commerce City Schools, we have already made progress toward meeting the requirements.  
Some things we are doing:       

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are served every day.

  • Purchasing more local and GA Grown produce whenever possible

  • Sandwiches are served on whole wheat buns.

  • All pasta served is whole grain.

  • Breakfast muffins, donuts, pop-tarts, etc… are whole grain.

  • Milk that is available is only low-fat or fat-free.

  • Purchasing lower sodium foods whenever possible.

  • Dark green and orange vegetables are served on a weekly basis.

  • Dried beans and peas are served at least once a week.

  • Garden salads include romaine lettuce and spinach.

  • All foods are baked or steamed.  We don’t even own a fryer!

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, joining your child for lunch and talk 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!

Rich Friedman

School Nutrition Director