It’s hard to believe that another school year is just a few weeks away, but we are excited to preview some new things this year, and we look forward to serving your children both breakfast and lunch throughout the year. Here is a summary of some of the things that we are working on this school year:
- New meal patterns — In January 2012, Congress passed the first changes to the school meal patterns in over 30 years. The intent of the new meal patterns is to try to get children of all ages to consume more fruits, a wide variety of vegetables, legumes and whole grains. All children will need to select either a full serving of fruit or vegetable with each meal, and by next year all the grains we serve will be whole grain. It gives us all a great opportunity to talk to any children we come in contact with about the importance of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables of all varieties, and to start sampling new choices whenever possible. Although this change will be a challenge at times, we are excited about the chance to better influence the life long habits of all the students that we serve every day, and to provide them with the nutrition that they need to be successful throughout the day.
- Farm to school initiative — We are excited to begin our 4th year of serving local products as a part of our school meals. We hope to be able to have a few guest appearances from farmers to further educate children on the source of food as well as conduct some product samplings with the students.
- New menu items — We look forward to trying some new menu items with the students including whole grain rotini, whole wheat crust pizza, marinated black bean salad, sweet potatoes in a variety of cuts, fresh beets, garden burgers, all beef hamburgers, flatbread sandwiches, hummus and pita, and a wide variety of ethnic menus.
- Ala carte options — We will continue to seek out foods for ala carte that meet the Action for Healthy Kids Minnesota and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation guidelines. This is an area that we will focus on continuous improvement, and purposeful change in the interest of providing some nutritional alternatives to supplement our main menu.
- Facility improvements — We have purchased specific pieces of equipment for a few schools to enable them to serve the students more efficiently, and to increase food quality and freshness.
I look forward to being out in the schools over the meal periods to be able to experience the meals that your children get served on a daily basis, and to be able to see first hand how the students are reacting to some of our new products. We invite you to join your children for lunch or breakfast at any time. If you have any comments or questions, please call me at 507.645.3432 or email me at Pam.Haupt@nfld.k12.mn.us. Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to serve your family. We look forward to a great year!
Pam Haupt, SNS
Child Nutrition Director