No peanut butter: Feds take control of school lunch menu

BOYCEVILLE — The school board learned that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be setting the dinner table for school kids.

Sherry Crosby, who is the School District’s Food Service Director, addressed the school board at its September 17th meeting with the following opening statement:
“I’m here tonight to inform you of the changes put into place by USDA guidelines for healthier meals for students starting this year,” Crosby said. She continued, “previously, students didn’t have to take a fruit or vegetable at all, now, under the offer verse serve, students must choose at least one fruit or veggie serving, and we encourage them to choose more if they like.”

Her report indicated: “we will be serving more healthy dark green and red/orange vegetables, as well as beans per week. Beginning this year, at least 50 percent of all grain foods (bread, pastas and rice) we serve will be whole grain, and within two years, grains will increase to 100 percent.”

To meet the requirements of the average daily nutrient limits for both grain and meat or meat alternative, food service must work with the following restrictions at lunch for elementary and middle school. Eight to nine ounces equivalent grains per week and two ounces of meat or meat alternate. The limit on average calorie intake is 600 to 700 for elementary and middle school students and 750 to 850 for grades 9 to 12.

“School breakfast program will implement new changes at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year,” Crosby told the board.

Board member Steve Bird questioned Crosby if this is required by the USDA and she indicated that it was. “We have already started the program,” she indicated.

Crosby said she is concerned that some kids are not getting enough to eat. She pointed out that kids out for athletics need more than the 750 to 850 calories. Kids are complaining that there is no peanut butter on the table. “We cannot do anything about that,” she concluded.
High School Principal Steve Glocke stated that he has noticed that, “kids are bringing in additional food items.” Bird questioned if they were tracking student participation in the lunch program and Crosby answered, “lunch is stable.” Crosby was asked about students acceptance of whole grain so far this year. “We served a lot of whole grain last year, so kids are not seeing that much change this year.”