Town Times Requester



Stay Connected
image

Better food, more choices for school lunch


Regional School District 13 Food Services Director Mark Basil recently spoke with Town Times about the state’s new regulations to ensure more nutritious food is making its way to students’ lunch trays. “The changes are good,” he said.

RSD13 is part of the National School Lunch Program, a federally-assisted meal program for students. As part of that program, the local school system has elected to be an Offer Versus Serve district referred to as OVS.

This means that a lunch is reimbursed by the state as long as the student takes three of the five components being offered, including a fruit and vegetable. The components are: grain, dairy, meat or meat alternative (like yogurt or beans), fruit, and vegetable. The goal of OVS is to reduce waste by not forcing students to take food they don’t intend to eat.

But there is some waste. “We have the students take a fruit and a vegetable,” Basil said, “so that we can get reimbursed. And then they go around the corner and throw them away. There’s a lot of waste.”

“We tell them that if they are not going to eat their fruit and vegetable, give them to somebody else,” said Jane Schmitt, kitchen manager. “Don’t throw them away.”

The new regulations increase the portion size of fruits and vegetables and decrease the portion size of meat. There are more beans, in different forms. Whole grains instead of white flour. No salt shakers on the tables. The vending machines have baked (not fried) chips, water, 100 percent juice, and no soda. Basil has brought in a variety of fresh local produce. “The kids are not big vegetable eaters,” he said. “With these regulations we are trying to find something they like. We figure they would like fresh vegetables more than frozen ones.”

High school students have several choices for their lunch. There’s a sandwich station (sandwiches can be made-to-order), the salad and soup stations, a hot and spicy stations with grinders and wraps made-to-order, and a main entrée station, which serves Mexican, Oriental, and Italian food.

Basil said there is more resistance at the high school level to the requirement for fruits and vegetables because these students are old enough to make their own decisions, and they resent the state telling them what to eat.

“The state is trying to get kids healthier,” Basil said, “but they can find what they want outside of school. We see them come in with Dunkin’ Donuts, and we can’t control that. The kids aren’t driven to develop good eating habits.

“A lot of this has to come from nutritional education in the classroom, and from home. If a student buys lunch every day of the school year, it equates to only 16 percent of his or her annual food intake.”

But Basil remains hopeful. “We’re trying to create healthy eating patterns, and the regulations are helpful. I think things are coming around. Maybe what we’re doing here will expand into breakfast and dinner.”



Back to AllNews
Top Stories of the Week

Durham to eliminate town Round Up use …
The Roadside Management Task Force was charged with researching ways the town could reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals while controlling roadside weeds … more ...

Busy day at the Durham Public Library …
On Saturday, May 16, the library booster group PALS held its annual book sale in the Durham Public Library’s lower level. On the same day … more ...

School budget reduced after down vote at referendum …
The first regular Board of Education meeting after voters rejected the proposed 2015-2016 school budget at the May 5 referendum was better attended than any … more ...

Caruso named parade Grand Marshal …
The 2015 Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshal is Vincent Caruso, a former U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class. … more ...

Matty’s drops game slugfest to Killingworth …
Matty’s Next Door Sports Bar let an early lead evaporate, losing 25 – 19 to Killingworth in an eight-inning game called due to darkness. Visiting … more ...

Comments