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School Menus Feature Additional Healthy Options

Wellness and nutrition education program that encourages District 200 students and their families to make healthier food choices, has been updated in anticipation of the USDA’s recommendations

School Menus Feature Additional Healthy Options

Students who returned to school in District 200 last week were welcomed back with a greater variety of healthy food selections on their cafeteria’s menu.

As part of the USDA’s changes to the National School Lunch Program, Community Unit School District 200 and ARAMARK have further updated the school menu to incorporate the new meal requirements and offer students additional healthful menu items. Designed to ensure students receive a balanced meal consisting of foods from all major food groups, the USDA’s new standards encourage healthy eating and nutrition education. Additionally, the requirements focus on obtaining calories and other key nutrients from fruits, vegetables, protein foods, grains and milk with proper serving sizes for a student’s age and activity level.

ARAMARK’s Healthy for Life™ initiative, a comprehensive wellness and nutrition education program that encourages students and their families to make healthier food choices, has been updated in anticipation of the USDA’s recommendations. ARAMARK’s team of dietitians and chefs have been proactively developing new Healthy for Life™ recipes that reduce added fats, sugar and salt and ensuring that menus offer even more fruits and vegetables while remaining appealing to students.

This year’s school menus feature low and non-fat dairy options; lean protein choices; a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including dark leafy greens, bright orange carrots and peas and beans; assorted whole grain products; and 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added. Some of the specific menu changes for this school year include:

  • Availability of more whole grains- half of the grain items served this year will be whole grain
  • Increase in fruits and vegetables being offered- students must take at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable each day
  • Offering flavored milk in skim while unflavored or white milk will be offered as 1 percent
  • Decreasing the number of desserts offered to allow for an increase in higher nutrient foods

Also, as part of the new federal regulations, the District must comply with a paid lunch equity requirement. Essentially, the District must ensure that there are sufficient funds in our food service account for paid lunches. In complying with the formula to determine the cost for paid lunches, the District must slightly increase the cost of a paid student lunch- something the District has avoided in the last 4 years. Beginning this school year, the cost of a paid student lunch will increase from $2.40 to $2.55; a la carte milk will be increasing from $.40 to $.50; and an adult meal will be increasing from $2.75 to $3.25.

While the District is excited about the nutritious and healthy changes to school lunches, we understand that the cost increase in paid lunches is disappointing but unavoidable due to federal regulation. We believe that all of our services must be delivered in a cost-effective manner and that our community has high expectations of us. This change is an effort to be cost-effective while still delivering high-quality services to our students.

Please contact Lisa Maher, Assistant Business Manager, at lisa.maher@cusd200.org or 630-682-2420 with questions. For more information, please visit the District’s food service page on our website or click here.

Information courtesy of District 200.

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