New School Meal Requirements
On December 13, 2010, President Barack Obama signed S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has prompted the USDA to make changes in the National School Lunch & Breakfast Programs. You may have heard that there will be new requirements for school lunches served beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Many of the new guidelines will begin in the 2012-2013 school year. The good news is knowing what changes were likely to take place, Norwin School District's Department of Food & Nutrition Services has already been making many of these changes over the past several years.
· Students will now be required to have a fruit or vegetable on their tray for the lunch to count as a “Type A” meal. In addition, the amount of fruits and vegetables students can take has significantly increased and students will be able to take more fruit and vegetables than before. Please note the chart on the website of required portion sizes for grade specific amounts. We have been offering a very large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables daily for students to select from for the last 5 years.
· The breakfast program is scheduled to change in the 2013-2014 school year. Norwin has requested to start the implementation for the healthier meals with the start of the 2012-2013 school year. The biggest change with breakfast will be the elimination of the meat/meat alternate for breakfast. A “Type A” breakfast will consist of 2 whole grain rich breads, a cup (8 oz) of fruits or vegetables, and a fluid milk. Meat/meat alternates will still be offered as ala carte items at breakfast. The price for a “Type A” breakfast is $1.25 for all grades.
· We are now limited as to how much meat/meat alternate (beef, poultry, cheese, yogurt, etc) and grain servings we can offer. Previously, there was only a minimum portion size to meet, but now districts have to stay within the specified ranges for particular age groups. This means main entrees may not be as large as they have been or they may not be served as often. But remember, students will be able to select larger quantities of fruits and vegetables with every meal. We will have to be a little creative to make this work, but we feel certain we can prepare each meal so that our students will still enjoy the offerings.
New Guidelines Norwin Has Already Implemented
· For the 2012-2013 school year, the new guidelines state that half of all grains offered at lunch must be whole grain rich, in 2013-2014 all grains served for lunch must be whole grain rich. Since 2009, Norwin has offered whole grain rich breads, buns, and most pasta and pizza crusts.
· Fluid milk must be low-fat (1% or less unflavored) and flavored milk must be fat-free. We transitioned to 1% unflavored milk in the 2009-2010 school year and fat-free flavored milk last year.
· We must offer vegetables from the following groups each week: dark green, orange/red, and bean/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, offering beans/legumes and a variety of other colored vegetables during the week to meet the new regulations.
· Districts have until the 2014-2015 school year to meet the first level of sodium limits. Norwin has been purchasing low-fat reduced sodium items such as American and Mozzarella cheese since the 2009-2010 school year.