You may have heard that there will be new requirements for school meals. Most of these new rules will begin for school year 2012-13. Knowing what changes were likely to take place, the Connellsville Area School District Child Nutrition Department has already been gradually making many of these changes so it wouldn’t be such a shock to the students when they were finally required.
- Students will now be required to have ½ cup of fruit or vegetables on their tray for it to count as a full meal. Anything less than a full meal is charged at a la carte prices. We plan to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to give the students more to select from.
- There will be three different age groups: K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Before, we only had two age groups which left some of the younger students with way too much food. You’ll see that on the menus, many of our items are the same, but portion sizes and recipes will be designed to meet the specific age groups.
- We are now limited as to how much meat/meat alternate (cheese, yogurt, etc) and grains we can offer. Previously, we only had a minimum to meet, but could offer more. Now we have to stay within the specified ranges for each age group. This means main entrees may not be as large as they have been. Remember, though, that there are more fruits and vegetables available than there have been. We’ll have to be a little creative to make this work, but have no doubt we can make each meal something our students will enjoy.
What We’re Already Doing:
- Half of all grains offered must be whole grain rich. Almost all of our grains offered already meet this requirement.
- We must offer vegetables from the following groups each week: dark green, orange/red, and legumes. We then have the option to include starchy and other vegetables. We’ve been working towards this goal by offering more fresh fruits and vegetables, adding greens to our tossed salads, offering legumes and a variety of other vegetables during the week.
- Schools have until 2014-15 to meet the first level of sodium limits. While this might be quite a challenge for some districts, we come very close right now. We expect as manufacturers reformulate some of their products to bring down sodium levels that it will not be a problem to meet this requirement at all. We’ve been able to accomplish this by doing a lot of our cooking from scratch.
How You Can Help:
- Encourage your children to try new things at home and school
- Check with your school to see if it is possible to join your child for lunch and/or breakfast at school.
- If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!