How Does The School Hot Lunch Program Work?
This program is part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and like most businesses, we must follow many rules and regulations.
Our Program is an 'Offer vs. Serve' program, which means that we must offer 5 food components from the 5 different food groups, and students must take at least 3 of the 5 choices offered; one being 1/2 cup fruit and/or 1/2 cup vegetable.
The 5 different food groups, and amounts required, are as follows:
At least 2 oz. meat/meat alternative
At least 1/2 cup vegetables
At least 1/2 cup fruit
At least 2 servings of bread/grains
1 cup low-fat/fat free milk
The biggest misconception about the hot lunch program is the use of government commodities.
Many people think the commodities we receive are free, when in fact we purchase the commodities, and base the menus around these commodities. Because the commodities are used in the menus, we get reimbursed part of the cost, for those students eating hot lunch.
In order to receive the reimbursement, each student must take at least 3 of the 5 food components offered. There have been a few changes to the food items used for hot lunch. There again, these changes are rules that are mandated by the NSLP. We are now offering wheat bread and buns, vs. white; The milk has changed from 2% white, to 1% white, and from low fat chocolate milk to fat free chocolate milk. We offer fresh and/or frozen vegetables vs. canned. We also offer fresh fruit. We very rarely offer desserts anymore, to keep the calories down, per meal. This is all due partially to the fact that school lunches are being blamed for childhood obesity.
In closing, I want to remind parents that breakfast is offered to all students, at all schools, before school starts. If your child qualifies for free/reduced lunch, this applies for breakfast, also.
If anyone has any questions or comments about the breakfast/hot lunch programs, please feel free to contact me at (920) 533-1283, or firstname.lastname@example.org