Food Service Facts

What are the school breakfast and lunch programs trying to accomplish?
In accordance with the USDA, we have reformulated some of the students favorite items so they are reduced fat, sugar and whole grain.  The goal of the school breakfast & lunch program is to provide high quality, nutritious, cost-effective meals to all students in the North Mason School District.  

Why should my child buy breakfast or lunch at school rather than bring it from home?
The school-meal program assures:
1. Nutritionally balanced meals;
2. Wider variety of foods;
3. Exposure to new foods;
4. Cost-savings to parents.

How do school meals meet the energy needs of our children?   
Because school meals are designed for growing children who need more calories than adults, they generally contain a variety of complex carbohydrates to provide energy. Such carbohydrates (starch) and fat are the major sources of energy in our diet. However, nutritionists have recommended that Americans increase their intake of complex carbohydrates and decrease their intake of fats. Our school meals increasingly are reflecting these recommendations. In addition to providing energy, calories from complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, also add fiber to the diet. In addition to limiting fats, schools are also encouraged to limit simple carbohydrates (sugar) and to replace desserts with fresh fruits.

What guidelines do they have?
The school-meals program is governed by federal (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and state (Superintendent of Public Instruction) regulations as well as by policies that the local school board deems necessary.

Who plans the school menus?
Menus are planned by the Food & Nutrition Services Director with the assistance of her staff. Menus generally are planned to reflect the preference of students, to encourage them to eat nutritious meals.

How are menus planned?
Menus must meet “School Breakfast & Lunch Program Meal Pattern Requirements.” Meals are planned with the goal of providing students one-third of their Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for key nutrients and calories at breakfast and one-third of the RDAs at lunch.

Why do schools serve such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables?
School-age children are selective about the fruits and vegetables they eat. This presents a challenge to menu planning, because vitamins A and C must be offered at least three times a week.  These vitamins are found in fruits and vegetables. Here at North Mason School District, we offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. By serving a variety of fruits and vegetables, we hope children will find ones they enjoy and will get the vitamins they need.

Are snacks, such as candy and carbonated beverages, available at school?
Eating these foods instead of a balanced meal promotes poor nutrition and diet deficiencies, not to mention dental problems.  While many student stores and ASB groups sell these items for fund-raising purposes, federal guidelines prohibit the sale of foods of minimal nutritional value in the food service area during lunch.

How can I help my child get the most from school meals?
A very important thing you can do is review the school menu with your child. When choosing school meals, keep in mind that the menu is planned to offer a variety of foods.  Counsel your child to try a variety of meals, in addition to their favorites.  This will ensure the best overall nutritional balance.

How can I get involved?
The staff at the Food & Nutrition Services Department like to have parents, teachers, and students involved. If you are interested in finding out more about your school’s nutrition program, contact Mackenna Long, Child Nutrition Director, at (360) 277-2121.