The Food Service Department is proud of the role it plays in providing students with a nutritious meal each school day. Our goal is to provide students with a well balanced meal, which is appealing to students’ tastes, and meets the guidelines of the National School Lunch Program.
The USDA meal patterns require five components must be offered to qualify for a reimbursable meal. A Meat/Protein, Fruit, Vegetable, Bread, and Milk must be offered in specific quantities. These meal patterns are designed to provide 1/3 of the recommended dietary allowances for key nutrients. The menu must also provide no more than 30% of the total calories from fat, and no more than 10% from saturated fat over the course of a week.
Harvest of the Month
Our “Harvest of the Month” program promotes different fruits, vegetables, herbs and legumes throughout the school year. We provide fun facts and nutrition information and will serve it at least one day during that month.
In order to encourage students to eat a complete lunch, we offer two entrée choices at each elementary, and more choices at the Middle and High School. Every entrée we offer is available as a meal when bundled with our fruit and vegetable bar and a milk. We believe it is important to encourage students to eat a balanced meal, so all entrees are available as meals to all students.
At each school we offer a self serve fruit and vegetable bar. By providing four vegetables, a fresh fruit and a canned fruit, the students can pick their favorite items, instead of passing up one choice offered on a menu because they don’t care for it. We will introduce the students to a greater variety of fresh fruit including Passion Fruit, Blood Orange, and Papaya, just to name a few. We use whole grain white bread and whole wheat rolls, and will offer whole wheat pizza crusts to insure students get the grains they need.
French Fries (which are considered a vegetable) are baked rather than deep fried in all schools. Fries are only offered on the menu a few times per month.
Desserts are considered a treat with lunch, and have been limited to once per week on the menu.
USDA Donated Foods
Part of the funding of the National School Lunch Program comes to the district in the form of USDA donated foods. As students tastes have changed, the types of foods offered as donated foods have changed with them. Rather than receive whole Turkeys as in the past, we now receive processed items such as Turkey Mini Corn Dogs, Chicken Nuggets, Fully Cooked Hamburger Patties, Pizza Dippers and Taco Meat. These items are prepared using ingredients that help lower the fat and salt they contain. For example, cheese products are made with part skim milk, and beef products have added soy or turkey. We also receive much of our canned fruit and frozen vegetables from USDA.
In order to meet the nutritional requirements of our meals, we take specific steps when preparing food items. Ground Beef is rinsed after cooking to skim off fat, and ground turkey is added when possible. All products that are typically deep fried, (chicken nuggets, chicken patties, popcorn chicken) are baked in ovens with no oil added. We do not add butter or margarine when cooking vegetables and they are steamed when possible. Salt is no longer added as a seasoning, and we use pepper or other herbs as flavor enhancements.
A la Carte
A la Carte items are snacks that students may purchase that are not part of a meal. They are offered to Middle and High School students only, and are intended to compliment a meal rather than replace it. For that reason, we follow the USDA price guidelines so that a meal is always a better value than purchasing items separately. All A la Carte items we sell are approved by USDA guidelines, although we have limited high fat A la Carte items, and introduced more baked and lo-fat snack items in their place during the past several years.
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We have included a Nutritional Analysis of your favorite menu items. Students and parents can use this data to help make the best choices for a well balanced diet.
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Taher’s Food4Life(SM) Initiative
We recognize that good nutrition and physical activity are essential for the long-term health of children. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions; Type 2 diabetes and other childhood-onset of adult diseases also have reached alarming proportions.
Our commitment to be part of a solution led us to our Food 4 Life initiative, which has been our guiding principle at Taher Inc. since 2006 and includes:
- introducing children to new and different foods
- focusing on more scratch cooking, using less processed foods
- increasing the offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes
- utilizing more locally grown products when available
- providing additional opportunities for development of our cooks by working with our regional and corporate chefs, and through chef training seminars
We have eliminated all trans fats in products we purchase, and use low sodium bases in our recipes. We have specified milk without Bovine Growth Hormone, BGH.
Our menu standards follow the White House Initiative, and the HealthierUS School Challenge.
This year we have expanded our Farm to School Program to 17 different fruits and vegetables grown locally when in season. Students will be able to see the name of the farm and location when these wonderful farm fresh items are served.
At each elementary building, we have a colorful poster, with nutrition tips aimed at younger students, to help build good eating habits. We are promoting Nutrition Month with a nutrition display board as we did last year. Students can see a comparison of sugar and fat contained in the popular foods they eat, to help them understand the impact good choices makes on their health.
We understand the changing environment and the concern of rising childhood obesity. We will continue to evaluate the lunch program as new information is received, and make changes as necessary to comply with USDA guidelines and any local policies.
I would also be glad to speak to anyone who needs more information or has concerns about Nutrition and our school lunch program.
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In the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, the U.S. Congress established a new requirement for all local agencies with a federally funded National School Lunch Program. All local school districts were required to develop and implement wellness policies by the start of the 2006-07 school year. In response to this requirement, our school districts formed committees made up of parents, administration, faculty, and students to develop their wellness policies. The district has updated the Wellness Policy periodically. Click on the link below to view the current policy.
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- Offering a choice of white and whole wheat bread
- Serving white whole grain bread
- French Fries not offered as a la carte, and only Baked
- Changed milk choices to 1% white, 1% chocolate, and skim
- Desserts reduced to no more than twice per week
- No additional salt available to students as a condiment at elementary and middle schools
- Beverages offered in smaller sizes
- Salad dressings and mayonnaise are offered in reduced fat varieties
- Promoting Nutra Kid at Elementary Schools with Nutrition Tips and Menu board
- Nutrition boards displaying sugar and fat in snack items in Junior/Senior High School Cafeteria during Nutrition Month
- Using reduced fat cheese on homemade pizza and purchasing Tony’s pizza with reduced fat cheese
- All competitive foods offered, such as chips and pre-packaged snacks, follow the National School Lunch Program guidelines and School District Wellness Policy.
- Following Beverage and Pre packaged snack guidelines from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
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