Barrington Bulletin

The most complete and most convenient source for news and information about the borough of Barrington, N.J.

Healthier school lunches — with higher price tag — coming for next school year

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:

  • Fruits and vegetables must be put on the tray, rather than just being available as an option.
  • 1/2 cup of fruit and 3/4 cup of vegetables are required at minimum every day (see bottom of this article for more details on vegetables)
  • Lunches must be 550-650 calories for grades K-5 and 600-700 calories for grades 6-8.
  • At least 1 oz. of meat or meat alternative must be offered every day, but no more than 10 oz. may be offered each week.
  • At least 1 oz. of grains must be offered every day, but no more than 9 oz. may be offered each week for grades K-5 (no more than 10 oz. for grades 6-8).

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.

Related: “Barrington schools food-service contractor does not use ‘pink slime’

VEGETABLE BREAKDOWN:

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:

  • Dark Green Vegetables (1/2 cup minimum per week)
    • bok choy
    • broccoli
    • collard greens
    • dark green leafy lettuce
    • kale
    • mesclun
    • mustard greens
    • romaine lettuce
    • spinach
    • turnip greens
    • watercress
  • Starchy vegetables (1/2 cup minimum per week)
    • cassava
    • corn
    • fresh cowpeas, field peas, or black-eyed peas (not dry)
    • green bananas
    • green peas
    • green lima beans
    • plantains
    • potatoes
    • taro
    • water chestnuts
  • Red & orange vegetables (3/4 cup minimum per week)
    • acorn squash
    • butternut squash
    • carrots
    • hubbard squash
    • pumpkin
    • red peppers
    • sweet potatoes
    • tomatoes
    • tomato juice
  • Beans and peas (1/2 cup minimum per week)
    • black beans
    • black-eyed peas (mature, dry)
    • garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
    • kidney beans
    • lentils
    • navy beans
    • pinto beans
    • soy beans
    • split peas
    • white beans
  • Other vegetables (1/2 cup minimum per week)
    • artichokes
    • asparagus
    • avocado
    • bean sprouts
    • beets
    • Brussels sprouts
    • cabbage
    • cauliflower
    • celery
    • cucumbers
    • eggplant
    • green beans
    • green peppers
    • iceberg (head) lettuce
    • mushrooms
    • okra
    • onions
    • parsnips
    • turnips
    • wax beans
    • zucchini
    • (source: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html):
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5 comments on “Healthier school lunches — with higher price tag — coming for next school year

  1. ryan dubosar
    June 12, 2012

    I’ll still send lunches to school. I can guarantee grade-A ingredients, control serving sizes and follow up if uneaten portions return home.

  2. G Gallen
    June 12, 2012

    Please go to the myplate.gov website, which has a LOT of very very useful dietary information. They have changed the “ideal” mean from a pyramid to a plate, which is what is triggering these changes. Even if you are going to pack a lunch, this website will give you information on things to pack.

  3. Pingback: Big changes coming with new school year « Barrington Bulletin

  4. Pingback: School board to consider renewing Arcodia contract through 2015 at meeting tonight « Barrington Bulletin

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This entry was posted on June 12, 2012 by in Schools and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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