While school districts have some flexibility in what foods we offer to our students, we are required to plan our menus in accordance with guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 continues to bring changes to menu items and meal selections to the cafeteria. These regulations reflect the Institute of Medicine’ report: “School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children” and the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are designed to increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; reduce the sodium and fat content of items served; and provide appropriate portion sizes for each age group.
These guidelines translate into the following changes in the cafeteria:
- Students are required to take a fruit or vegetable with every meal
- A weekly requirement for new vegetable subgroups served: dark green, red/orange, beans/peas, starchy, and “other” to ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals are available
- Weekly ranges for meat/meat alternates, grains, fruits, and vegetables, with daily minimums
- Grains offered must be whole grain rich (with the exception of state approved menu flexibilities)
- Zero trans fat in all items, and saturated fat limited to less than 10% of calories
- Calorie ranges with minimum and maximum levels for each age group at lunch
- Water will be available during all lunch periods at our “hydration stations”
We typically offer more than the minimum number of calories required by the USDA, because we offer significantly more servings of fruits and vegetables than the 5 cups/week that are required.
Disclaimer: Nutrient values are useful guides but must be considered estimates. The nutrient content of a food can vary due to natural factors like soil quality and climate as well as processing and preparation variations. Manufacturers may change their formulation without our knowledge. And, the portion sizes may vary slightly which will affect the nutrient content. Please consider this information carefully when making selections.
Want more information on the new USDA regulations?
Special Diet Concern
Background: Saint Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services provides meals to students through federally funded Child Nutrition Programs. One of our responsibilities is to make accommodations for students who are unable to eat school meals because of a disability that restricts their diet. In order to make modifications or substitutions to the school meal, schools must have a written Medical Statement on file that is signed by a licensed physician or other State licensed health care professional authorized to write medical prescriptions under State law.
1. The first step to making accommodations is to ask a licensed health provider to complete the attached form. Approved providers include licensed physician, physician assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse, such as a certified nurse practitioner.
2. The statement must include:
- The child’s disability
- An explanation of why the disability restricts the child’s diet
- The major life activity affected by the disability
- The food(s) to be omitted from the child’s diet
- The food or choice of foods that must be provided as the substitute
3. Submit the form to the nurse at your child’s school.
4. Your child’s diet restrictions will be noted in our School Lunch software.
Students with lactose intolerance do not need a Special Diet Statement for a milk substitute. Please let the nurse at your child’s school know that your child is lactose intolerant, and lactose-free milk will be provided.
Requests related to religious or moral convictions or personal preference may be accommodated. When these requests are accommodated, NS is required to ensure that all USDA meal pattern and nutrient requirements are met.
If you have any questions please contact Cole Welhaven at 651-523-6328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Paul Public School students consume 1/2 to 2/3 of their daily calories from school foods. In order to give students the energy they need to perform academically, it is extremely important that we offer food that is healthy and delicious. We feel that promoting balanced eating habits will support learning.