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Nutrition Standards for USDA School Nutrition Programs impacting menus this fall


Tue, Aug 14th, 2012
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Local schools, Fillmore Central, Mabel-Canton and Chatfield will be effected by the following school lunch changes.

School meals across the country will take a more healthy approach this fall when new USDA requirements take effect. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), administered by the USDA, released new meal and nutrition standards in January 2012 - the first major update in 15 years. This is good news for over 32 million children who will benefit from the requirements, which are designed to improve the health and nutrition of students while helping maintain a healthy weight. The changes are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by congress and championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Let’s Move campaign.

Fruits and Vegetables

•Students will be offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week, doubling the amount currently offered.

•Each student must have at least 1/2 cup fruit and/or vegetable on their tray as part of their meal.

•Vegetable categories offered each week will be: 3/4 cup orange or red vegetable, 1/2 cup dark green, 1/2 cup starchy vegetable (green peas, corn, white potatoes), 1/2 cup dried bean/peas (legume).

Grains

•At least half of the grains offered will be whole grain-rich

Milk

•Non-flavored milk offerings are limited to 1% or skim (fat-free). All flavored milk, when offered, must be fat-free.

Caloric Level

•Minimum and maximum calorie levels are specified depending on the age of the student. The new age groupings are grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Other Standards

•All menu items will be trans fat-free. There also will be limits on saturated fat and sodium.

Taher’s Food 4 Life Healthy Eating Initiative

For over 31 years Taher has been committed to menu enhancements for school nutrition programs. For the past several years, Taher has worked to implement healthier options and offerings into our menus and programs. As a result, we are well on our way to meeting the new requirements. With the launch of our Food 4 Life initiative in 2007, we became one of the nation’s largest food service companies to remove trans fats from school nutrition menus. With the leadership of our Nutrition and Wellness Department and our Chef Council, we bring great tasting, healthful foods and innovative programs to schools.

Our Food 4 Life menu offerings incorporate the following:

•Chef-developed, made-from-scratch items including trans-fat free and whole grain options;

•A Fruit and Vegetable Bar as part of the daily menu offerings with a selection of fresh vegetables, and fresh or canned fruit; rainbow-focused menu choices including dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes;

•Harvest of the Month program that features a specific fruit, vegetable, and grain or legume each month, along with weekly educational flyers.

Stay Tuned! More news to come about the USDA School Lunch Regulations.

As the new school year approaches, we will update everyone with more details periodically throughout the summer and right before school starts. Look for future newsletters, pamphlets, and examples of what will constitute a healthier school lunch. We are confident the transition will be smooth as we bring back menu favorites, provide new choices and continue to offer nutritious school meals that help promote health and positive life-long eating habits.

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