The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was approved by the federal government and is now law. Morgan School District, and many other districts in the state, participate in the national school lunch program and are required to comply with the new standards and guidelines set by the government. The new lunch menus are now aligned with this law. We will be offering more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fewer desserts. Students participating in the school lunch program must choose at least one fruit or vegetable, plus two other food items. They may also choose to take all of the food items offered which would include both the fruit and vegetable. This change will help ensure that students will have on their tray a healthy, balanced meal everyday that meets federal government guidelines. All food is not created equal in the eyes of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of the food items we have served in the past have not met the new guidelines. For example a peanut-butter sandwich, which has been a staple in the past, now would not meet the requirements without being served with several other food items. All food items served have to be analyzed and calculated regarding their content of milk, grains, vegetables, fruit, and meat or meat alternative components, such as yogurt, cheese, or peanut butter. The new law includes a weekly requirement for red/orange vegetable, beans, dark green vegetable, starchy vegetable, or other vegetables. The bread products have to be whole grain. We try very hard to include many different food choices for the students. Our challenge now is to motivate each student to take the required food items every day. As parents we know the importance of a healthy diet. The new requirements include a minimum and maximum calorie value for each meal based on the recommended caloric intake of the student’s age group. If your student is still hungry encourage them to take more fruits and vegetables as they can have as much as they would like. Each day we serve, at a minimum, two cups of fruits and vegetables. We also provide a daily serving of meat, grains and milk. Just like in your home, what your child eats is important to us. Please encourage your child to try the different food choices offered. We encourage parents to eat school lunch with their children. Call your child’s school for campus procedures. Please feel free to contact me personally regarding the new law and changes in the Morgan School District lunch program. I have also posted additional information regarding the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the national school lunch program including the mandated price increase on the Morgan School District website. I appreciate your support of the school lunch program. Following is an article by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the new standards for school meals.
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