FOOD SERVICE REQUIREMENTS
By Denise O’Dea, USD 108 Superintendent
USD 108 prides itself on serving nutritional meals and snacks that our students also love and will eat. Our students are surveyed on favorite meals and the kitchen incorporates those meals as best they can; we do provide a dessert or sweet treat at least 2 times a week; the fruit and salad bar is unlimited (all we ask is that the students eat what they take off the fruit and salad bar); and we offer breakfast, lunch, second chance breakfast at the JH/HS level AND an after school snack.
The breakfast, second chance breakfast, and lunch are all paid meals. The after school snack is FREE for all students who wish to participate.
Because every school district in Kansas receives federal and state monetary help for food reimbursement, we are required by law to follow strict guidelines.
For the National School Lunch Program, all meals must provide the five components, meeting the minimum meal pattern requirements for the age/grade group being served. Specific guidelines can be found at https://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Docs/SNP_Guidance/Menu_Planning_Production_Records/Lunch_Meal_Pattern_Dietary_Specifications_2015.pdf
Breakfast requires a serving of milk, fruit or vegetable and bread or grain product.
Lunch requires a serving of milk, bread or grain product, meat or meat alternate, and two different servings of fruits and/or vegetables.
Other “rules” that we are required to follow include:
- Gradually reduce sodium in menus. Salt and pepper shakers are NOT allowed to be on lunchroom tables.
- Limit Saturated Fat and eliminate Trans Fat in menus.
- Seconds are only available for fruits and vegetables.
- The protein source (meat or meat alternative such as eggs and cheese) cannot be provided on the fruit/salad bar because the protein amount served cannot be controlled.
- Students are encouraged to select fat-free milk. However, every child is encouraged to bring their personal water bottle into the lunchroom and fill it up with water to drink. Milk has to be taken to have the meal count as a reimbursable meal, but it does not have to be drank. For milk that is not open, students are allowed to place the milk on the “share” table for others to drink if they wish.
- Adults may NOT eat foods from the reimbursable meals served to students. In addition, adults may NOT take any foods for their own consumption that were previously served to students, even if the students do not plan to eat or drink the food item(s).
- As with most things at USD 108, assumptions can be wrong, so please ask! Recently, I was asked why we couldn’t have homemade bread. We DO have homemade bread. In fact, I can’t remember a time since I’ve been in the district where we served bread that was purchased from a store. All hot rolls and buns served with sandwiches are homemade in our kitchen. When cinnamon rolls are offered on the menu, they are homemade (not pre-made as was also an assumption).
USD 108 is one of the districts in Kansas that has been chosen for a food service audit for the 2019-20 school year. While this can be a stressful experience because of all the paperwork and background information that needs to be gathered and provided to the state, I have no doubt we will pass with flying colors. We take our responsibilities in food service very seriously.