By Anne Rich
GICSD Food Service Director
Thank you to everyone who recently provided valuable feedback on the GICSD Food Service Department parent survey. Overwhelmingly, survey respondents asked for more information about our program. In response, this column shares key points of our child nutrition program.
We are part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs and receive reimbursement and entitlement dollars from the State and Federal governments, which means we have regulations to follow. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) went into effect. These nutrition standards are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 and address many components of each meal such as offering more fruits and vegetables, serving whole grain-rich foods, and offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties.
Lunch Program: Of the five components we offer for lunch (protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and milk), students must take a minimum of three. One of the three must be a minimum ½ cup fruit or vegetable. We offer options for the students so they can take items they will eat instead of throw away. Nutrition education is also part of our mandates. We feature veggies, and sometimes fruits, as part of a Harvest of the Month program to introduce and encourage children to “give them a try”.
Searching for quality products to serve our children is an ongoing process. Some of the products we use:
- 100% beef burgers and 100% beef meatballs or Jennie-O turkey meatballs
- Chicken breast is first ingredient of our chicken products.
- Nothing is fried; everything is oven crisp.
- Most veggies are frozen or fresh. Frozen veggies are roasted in the oven to prevent nutrients from leaching out. Green beans and corn are canned and that is due to freezer limitations. Fresh baby carrots are offered daily to supplement veggies or offer another choice from daily vegetable
- NEW! To the daily offerings in our elementary and middle schools: romaine and baby spinach salad as a vegetable option.
- All grain products (except for some bagel items that are exempt) are whole grain rich. Whole wheat is the first ingredient on all bread items and breaded products. We use Barilla whole grain pastas, brown rice and whole grain Costanzo sub rolls. All pizza crusts are also whole grain rich.
- We serve 1%, skim, and flavored fat-free milk.
- We offer fresh fruits and fruit cups daily.
- Our apples come from LynOaken Farms in Medina. Each week we get a different variety. In September and October apples are picked and on our students trays in just a couple days! We also incorporate other local farm offerings during the NY growing season.
Breakfast Program: We offer five items (protein, whole grain, fruit, juice and low fat/fat free milk) and students choose at least three (one must be fruit or juice). Breakfast is available for all students. At the elementary level, bus drivers make an all-call for breakfast and students wishing to come in to eat can get off the bus early to do so. In Middle School, we have a breakfast cart in the hall near the guidance offices. Students can grab-n-go with their breakfast to first period and eat at their desk. Breakfast is available in the High School from 7:20 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast items are also whole grain (except bagels). We’ve changed our elementary menu and added oatmeal, English muffins, toast and mini bagels.
The Food Service webpage has the breakfast and lunch menus, pricing, my school bucks online payment information, and more! Restrictions can be placed on your child’s account, just give us a call. If you ever have any questions about our program and the services we provide, please contact us in the High School at 716-773-8885.