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Parents and families need to be aware of upcoming changes to the school lunch program to “avoid unhappy kids,” according to a presentation Monday at the Barrington school board meeting by the company responsible for the district’s lunch program.
The changes are a result of new federal requirements that school lunches have less sodium, more whole grains and more fruits and vegetables. The goal is to teach children to rely on a variety of healthier foods rather than the few “easy” foods that have contributed to the national obesity epidemic. The new guidelines are to take effect in the fall.
In Barrington, lunches are expected to cost about 10 cents more for students, according to officials with Nutri-Serve Food Management. The actual cost of providing the lunches is estimated to be about 50 cents more per lunch, those in charge of the program said. The difference will likely result in a significant drop in the revenue the program generated for the school.
Among the changes children and parents will see:
The Nutri-Serve representatives expressed to the school board that it was important to advise families of these changes as early as possible so children wouldn’t come home from the first day of school unexpectedly having had less of the food they were used to.
They noted this was one of the biggest changes they have seen take place, but that it would result in a better way of eating in the long run.
In addition to requiring more vegetables, the new program also requires many different kinds of vegetables. In grades K-8, children are required to have placed on their tray: