MDE School Nutrition Programs Handout on Grains

National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

NSLP Legislation

NSLP Regulations

NSLP Policies

Guidance and Resources

Offer Versus Serve (OVS) – Updated 2015-2016 Guidance Manual

Tools for SchoolsTools for Schools offers topic-specific policy and resource materials to assist schools in meeting the new nutrition standards. Refer to the latest regulations, find free nutrition education curricula, or get ideas for adding tasty, kid-friendly foods to enhance your school meals program.

  • Nutrition Education and Promotion
  • Recipes and Culinary Techniques for Schools
  • School Nutrition Improvement
  • Policy Guidance

Nutrition Standards for School Meals – The final rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, updated the meal patterns and nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to align them with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Improvements to the school meal programs, largely based on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, are expected to enhance the diet and health of school children, and help decrease childhood obesity.

Certification of Compliance – The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act provides an additional 6-cents per lunch reimbursement to school districts that certified to be in compliance with the new meal patterns.

Additional Resources

Related Documents
MDE School Nutrition Programs Handout on Grains PDF icon

Children Not Eating Veggies Despite Healthy School Lunch Program

A new paper reported that the healthy lunch program implemented in U.S. schools has not drove children to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables as projected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the National School Lunch Program with the aim of increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) of school kids. Through this program, kids were required to choose FVs for their lunch as part of the reimbursable school meal; however, researchers found that the program has been surrounded by numerous negative concerns such as the rising number of school food waste.

The researchers from the University of Vermont Burlington and University of California performed the study by initially conducting 10 school visits and observing about 498 lunch trays before the program was put into action. After a year of program implementation, the researchers then visited 11 schools and observed 944 trays, utilizing the verified dietary assessment tools. For each school visit and observation, the researchers selected pupils in the third, fourth and fifth grade and assigned them with a number. They then took digital photos of the students’ lunch trays before and after eating, after which the researchers tried to quantify what has been consumed and has been dump in the trash.

The findings of the study, published in Public Health Reports, show that more kids chose FVs in larger portions when it was mandated by the program compared to when it was still optional. However, the consumption of FVs slightly decreased when it was required compared to when the program was not yet in place. In numbers, the results can be translated as 29 percent more children took FVs when the program started, 13 percent less consumption of FVs were noted after the requirement and 56 percent more food was thrown away.

“The basic question we wanted to explore was: does requiring a child to select a fruit or vegetable actually correspond with consumption,” says Sarah A. Amin, the lead author of the study from the University of Vermont Burlington. As per the study results, the answer to this query is clearly no, she adds.

Although the study was conducted in only two schools in the Northeast area and cannot generalized the entire country, the study results may still provide valuable insights into the decision-making body that is tasked to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The authors recommend giving the children more time as they will eventually learn how to eat right. Exposures should be increased through school programs and encouragement in the home setting. Schools may devise other ways to encourage children to eat more FVs such as serving sliced instead of whole fruit. “We can’t give up hope yet,” Amin closed.

Photo: US Department of Agriculture | Flickr

Food Processors and Ingredient Suppliers Study School Lunch Programs for Innovative Ideas

Processors and ingredient suppliers need to collaborate in creating meals that are nutritious and desirable for this picky and often overweight demographic.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

School lunch nutrition programs come in as many forms and approaches as there are school districts. But one constant is that budgets are always tight. However, processors who participate in the efforts to better feed our children can find satisfaction in not only doing the right thing but in creating products for a significantly large demographic. Case in point: The New York school system alone serves more than 1 million meals per day.

“Schools meals are expected to be universally acceptable to all students, so we have push back from both ends of the spectrum,” says Twyla Leigh, nutritionist for Collier County Public Schools in Naples, Fla. “They’re either ‘too healthy’ or not organic/vegan/scratch-cooking enough.”

Leigh admits school nutrition professionals realize that “one size does not fit all” and continue to seek out manufacturers of better tasting, healthy options, even as they are “challenged with labor issues, food safety concerns and balanced budgets.”

“School nutrition programs are expected to be self-supporting, paying for all food, labor, uniforms, equipment, water, electricity, gas, trash pick-up, payroll and human resource services.”

That according to Leigh and colleagues Terri Whitacre, director of school food and nutrition services for the Charlotte County Public School System in Punta Gorda, Fla., and Stacey Wykoski, foodservice director for the Jenison/Hudsonville School Food Service group in Jenison, Mich.

The three provide recommendations that manufacturers “should avoid MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, nitrates and items that are known to be issues in the food supply.” They also believe that GMOs are going to be a “big topic” moving forward. “Manufacturers also need to take the lead in better food labels: sugar listed on a label should refer to added sugars, not natural and added combined,” they note.

Food allergens also will become more challenging with the increase in children who have food intolerances or allergies, says Leigh. “Gluten and peanuts are big issues with school-age children. Being involved with national ingredient and food label access, even with scanners and a more usable way to obtain this information, to link it to the school menus would be a huge victory for manufacturers, school nutrition and the children.”

Waste not

There are huge challenges facing any program designed to feed wholesome, desirable meals five days per week to hundreds of kids at a time in three or more 30 minute blocs around the noon hour. The biggest, perhaps, is an endless schoolyard tug-of-war between the cost of production and the staggering cost of plate waste.



The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania


Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, TX


Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District No. 1, MN


Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Cambridge, MA


Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, MN


School of Public Health, Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles


Jackson Public Schools, MS


Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames


Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


College of Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu


Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL


Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


inTEAM Associates, Ashland, WI

Study Staff


SHEILA MOATS, Associate Program Officer

JULIA HOGLUND, Research Associate

HEATHER BREINER, Program Associate

CAROL WEST SUITOR, Consultant Subject Matter Expert and Writer

ANTON BANDY, Financial Officer

GERALDINE KENNEDO, Administrative Assistant,

Food and Nutrition Board

LINDA D. MEYERS, Director,

Food and Nutrition Board

Associations Between School Meals Offered Through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Children

Ramona Robinson-O’Brien, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor,a Teri Burgess-Champoux, PhD, RD, LD, Lecturer,b Jess Haines, PhD, MHScRD, Instructor,c Peter J. Hannan, MStat, Senior Research Fellow,d and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD, Professore

That’s Progress — Advancements in Hospital Foodservice By Maura Keller

By Maura Keller
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 11 No. 8 P. 28

Today’s successful programs are catering to patients’ unique needs and safety, using technological innovations to streamline processes and personalize meal selection.

New technologies and innovative products can keep any industry fresh, and the hospital foodservice industry is no exception. Medical facilities, both large and small, are embracing technological advancements in food preparation, distribution, and safety. By doing so, they are impacting the health and well-being of their most important customers: the patients.

Current Trends
Gone are the days of paper menus on which patients, with pencil in hand, would “check” their menu choices. These days, hospitals are increasingly taking a more personalized approach to menu selection, preparation, and distribution. That’s because in a rapidly changing foodservice environment where products and merchandise can quickly become obsolete, staying on top of technology and trends is vital to the success of a foodservice program. Changes in the products, advances in technology, a focus on healthy living, and advancements in food safety can contribute to a profound shift in the way hospital chefs and dietitians operate their programs.

According to Sharron Lent, RD, vice president of patient and clinical services for ARAMARK Healthcare, the industry is seeing dining trends that are based on providing freshly prepared items, which are driving hospital foodservice operations to migrate from more batch-style cooking to models such as room service. This, in turn, is designed to allow patients to order what they want to eat, when they are ready to eat.

“This shift to a more individualistic foodservice delivery model has improved the quality, freshness, and convenience of hospital foodservice,” Lent says. “From an ARAMARK Healthcare perspective, our recipes were developed in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America, our internal culinary design team, and chefs across the country working in our partnering facilities to meet the special nutritional requirements of respective patient diets.”

Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., has recently started an a la carte food cart that plates and serves food right on the unit. “We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner at alternating units,” says Chris Trivlis, director of foodservice at Montefiore Medical Center. “Our breakfast cart includes the preparation on the floor of fresh waffles, fresh fruit, hot cereals, eggs, French toast, bacon, and sausage. The smells are incredible.”
At Montefiore Medical Center, a foodservice advocate visits patients on special diets to try to customize their wants to the nutritional guidelines—in other words, giving them something more palatable within their dietary restrictions.

“Over the past few years, our operation has evolved from room service to what I call ‘a la carte service,’” says Stephen Bello, CEC, CCA, AAC, certified culinary administrator at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. “Our menu has numerous offerings, such as ethnical cuisine, comfort foods, and wholesome selections. All of our soups are prepared with the freshest ingredients using garden-fresh, local ingredients. When approaching special diets, our philosophy is simple: fresh, homemade selections minimizing the use of fat and sodium. We want our patients to taste the food. All of our deli and salad offerings are made to order. All menu selections come to the kitchen electronically. This system optimizes freshness and minimizes waste.”

Embracing Technology
High-end computer technologies are having a powerful impact on today’s hospital foodservice. For example, ARAMARK Healthcare has partnered with software companies to develop applications to manage the entire food production process—from ordering and receiving food to producing a final product. “This technology enables us to better manage cost, quality, and nutritional content of the food we are preparing,” Lent says.

The production system that ARAMARK Healthcare uses is designed to manage cost, quality, and nutritional outcomes and is integrated with their room service model. “To accommodate a room service approach, more and more hospitals are redesigning their back-of-the-house kitchen, moving away from the traditional timed assembly system to prepare meals more like a hotel does,” Lent says.

More of the kitchens at ARAMARK Healthcare’s partner hospitals are designed so that meals can be cooked to order and delivered when the patient wants to eat. Traditional kitchens prepare fixed menus in large quantities and serve to patients during fixed delivery periods, from 11 am to 1 pm.

“With the traditional model, if the patient is at a test or happens to be resting, they may not have a great meal experience,” Lent says. “With a room service approach, they can order when they like and have a fresh meal cooked to their liking and have it delivered when they want it.”

Montefiore Medical Center has a computer program that converts the doctor-prescribed diets for each patient into a menu. The meals are delivered to the floors on a specially designed cart that is heated on one side and refrigerated on the other. “This way, the foods stay hot and stay cold without blending temperatures on one tray,” Trivlis says.

Going one step further, South Nassau Communities Hospital’s delivery system has the ability to electronically track food from the time it leaves the kitchen to its delivery to the patient. “So if Mrs. Smith calls and wants to know where her food is, we have the ability to identify the tray’s location,” Bello says.

According to MaryPat Wais, RD, LDN, an ARAMARK foodservice manager at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill., the hospital is providing patients with a room service menu that is available from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. “Patients can call the room service call center anytime based on hunger, treatment schedules, their usual home routine, etc,” she says. “It allows patients to have control over their care and decisions.”

This has allowed for less wasted food because patients are calling when they desire the meal, not a day or hours before. In turn, Central DuPage Hospital can spend the extra food cost dollars on better quality and variety.

“The menu allows for over 33 options, and there are 12 different menus available to meet the specific needs of patients with diet restrictions,” Wais says. “The room service software allows the call center to take the order, the software interfaces with the hospital’s medical record system to ensure proper diet restrictions, allergies, and patient preferences are compliant. It then prints the ticket in the kitchen at three places, so the meal can be freshly made to order by the production staff. This ensures the meals are freshly prepared and reduces waste.”

What’s more, Central DuPage Hospital is using an automated robotic TUG, partnering with the company Aethon, to deliver meal trays to the patient unit. As Wais explains, a hostess receives the tray from the robot and delivers it to the patient. Aethon’s TUG Robotic Automated Delivery System is utilized to deliver meals between various locations within a hospital. The TUG’s computer has onboard maps with dedicated pathways and waypoints that the TUG uses to travel between two locations. While en route to a destination via these pathways, the TUG travels through hallways and utilizes an elevator to travel between floors.

“This technology has allowed the hostess more time to assist patients, improving the meal experience,” Wais says.

Advancements in Food Safety
If you’ve worked elsewhere in the foodservice industry—flipping burgers, tossing pizzas, or creating four-course meals—you know the important role cleanliness plays in creating a quality product. Just like you would never cook a fresh burger on an uncleaned fish grill, you also should never improperly store, cook, or handle food. Of course, food safety is a top priority for foodservice industry professionals within the medical industry. And technological advancements in refrigeration, preparation, and allergy indicators make hospital food safety a whole lot easier.

For example, the management of a hospital diet office is linked with ARAMARK Healthcare’s food management software, which enables them to integrate with the patient’s electronic medical records to manage nutrition care orders and take into consideration food allergies, which enhances patient safety.

“The advancements have enabled us to manage quality, nutritional value, safety, and costs more closely,” Lent says.

Likewise, Montefiore Medical Center has redesigned the trayline for maximum tray accuracy and temperature control. “The census increases dramatically at certain times due to such things as ‘swine flu,’ and we have to be able to feed all patients on a timely basis,” Trivlis says. Montefiore also continually monitors temperatures, proper food handling, and overall food safety from delivery to preparation to serving the patient.

While food safety is a priority for any foodservice facility, foodservice employees’ safety is also vital. “In 2008, my team and I started a program called Culinary Ergonomics. The program assessed all areas of the operation and concerns relating to physical repetitive trauma,” Bello says. “My philosophy was that if an athlete prepares himself before the big game, then why wouldn’t members of my cooking team prepare themselves physically to meet the demands of foodservice? Since then we have evolved; we have specific stations in the kitchen where employees can take a short window of time and stretch before or during their shift.” Team members who have become ambassadors of this program wear the ergonomic “patch” on their uniforms.

As part of the hospital foodservice industry, you know how critical cleanliness is to patients’ health. Unswept floors, soiled tables, and employees with poor hygiene can have a dramatic effect on all facets of a foodservice operation. The same can be said for the food safety equipment. While patients may not see how clean a hospital’s foodservice equipment is, they can certainly taste it.

Currently, South Nassau Communities Hospital’s foodservice department has implemented Anamac humidity control systems in its refrigeration and freezer units. “This technology has reduced airborne bacteria, reduced compressor run times, and increases the shelf live of food 100%,” Bello says. “The system also reduces the risk of employee slips and falls associated with wet floors.”

On the Horizon
Improved efficiencies in nutrition, foodservice technology, and patient satisfaction is the “name of the game” for hospitals.

“Hospital food programs have improved with new delivery systems, new computer programs, and new products from different vendors,” Trivlis says. “I envision meals on demand similar to hotel room service.”

Other facilities have embraced additional ways to facilitate their operations from a technological and environmental perspective.

Last year, Bello developed a program called Culinary Organizational Objectives Through Knowledge, or COOK for short, whereby each month someone from his culinary team presents to the group a technique, cuisine, regional ingredient, etc. “This avails members of the team to hone in on their presentation skills, as well as the sharing of knowledge,” Bello says. “Many of the presentation ideas have been incorporated into patient specials.”
Bello also developed an initiative called Controlling Our Spending Through Stewardship, or COSTS. Every week, he presents to the department a specific area of the food market that is volatile. “This knowledge gives our frontline employees a better understanding of costs at work and at home,” he says.

From a technological and ecological perspective, Bello’s kitchen has spearheaded the hospital’s green initiative. “Things like recycling paper, bottles, cans, shrink wrap, cardboard, and paper have proven to eliminate excess tonnage from the waste stream,” Bello says. “And our ‘Power Up Power Down’ energy awareness campaign has been contagious. Great things are happening at South Nassau Communities Hospital, thanks to the vision of our president and chief executive officer, Joseph Quagliata, and administration. They truly understand that food plays a major role in the recovery of our patients. They have and continue to support technology, education, and all of our wonderful initiatives.”

Speedy Solutions
With the hectic pace of the medical industry, speed-scratch cooking is one of the hottest cuisine trends. Speed scratch is, by definition, a system of combining value-added food products with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other components to create unique, signature dishes. Value-added products can be anything from preportioned cuts of veal to premade sauces to frozen dough products.

The concept of using convenience food products to enhance dishes is not revolutionary; home cooks have been using packaged mixes for gravy and canned soups in casseroles for decades. But what is new is the growing acceptance by medical foodservice personnel of using value-added products to cut prepping and cooking times. And in an industry where good help is hard to find, using convenience products to lessen the labor and time involved in food preparation makes sense.

Today’s marketplace allows hospital foodservice operators to choose exactly what level of value-adding they want—from recipe-building sauces and seasonings to fully prepared meal components. Popular examples of commercial ingredients used in speed-scratch cooking include frozen pastas, seasoned rice, packaged sauces, canned tomatoes, and bread and pizza dough.

With the right ingredients and proper preparation, speed-scratch cooking offers an ideal way to integrate value-added ingredients with fresh foodstuffs to create unique, flavorful menu options. Together with some of the latest technologies, foodservice entities within the medical industry are making significant strides in food handling and overall nutritional options for patients.

— Maura Keller is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor.

Infinity Retail Café Renovation and Expansion at Aurora Medical Center Kenosha in Kenosha, Wis.

A small linear retail location barely met the needs of visitors and staff at Aurora Medical Center Kenosha for many years. But an ever-expanding outpatient population paired with the hospital’s expansion to 73 inpatient beds eventually rendered the existing space insufficient.

Aurora-Kenosha-Cafeteria-and-Servery-1The mobile cash register station can be moved to the end of the hot food station. This allows the entire retail area to remain open and staffed with one person during weekends and evenings when transactions are low. Photo courtesy of Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Milwaukee, Wis.“The café was outdated, selections were limited due to café design and equipment necessity, customer flow was congested and café seating was limited,” says Bruce Parker, system retail and catering manager, Aurora System food and nutrition services. “We wanted a café with a fresh new look and to expand the space to disperse retail customers more evenly. And we wanted to create a retail experience that would help drive higher revenues and increase customer satisfaction.”

Finding the space to expand and meet goals of what was named Infinity Café proved challenging for the project team. “The coffee shop had a linear shape with only one service line, and back access only to bakery and cold cases,” says Christine Guyott, FCSI, RD, principal at Robert Rippe & Associates, the project’s foodservice design consultant. “Therefore, the space didn’t allow staff to change to self-serve options in low-volume traffic periods. Additional space was critically needed to make this into a right-size retail café.”

However, the project could not add any additional space to the building, so the design team used a former seating space to enlarge the servery to 1,235 square feet. The café also includes a 1,500-square-foot seating area that can accommodate 88 people. A corridor divides the seating area in half, yet allows natural light to penetrate into both areas. A new café feature is a private dining room.

Five Stations and Versatile Equipment

Aurora-Kenosha-Cafeteria-and-Servery-2Creative planning, such as shaping the salad bar to fit in a limited amount of space, opens up space for multiple menu options. Photo courtesy of Zimmerman Architectural StudiosThe larger space allows for increased and better traffic flow, giving customers much more room to see menu options, which also increased substantially. For example, a grill station with a flattop features a new gourmet burger concept called Hungry Burgers as well as daily specials. The entrée station contains an exhibition action station featuring healthy entrées and salads made to order.

Another popular new feature, the display cooking station, necessitated adding an exhaust hood onto the existing building. “This was the biggest challenge so we added it toward the back where it could be the most easily accommodated,” Guyott says.

A new sub concept named First Edition Grinders adds to menu items available in a deli area that also features specials made to order. Naan Za, a new gourmet pizza concept, features naan pizza crust with a variety of toppings.

The hot food and deli stations back up to the kitchen. The positioning allows staff to easily replenish the stations’ food items via a pass-through hot/cold unit from the adjacent kitchen. Refrigeration sits beneath the grill, flattop and charbroiler providing staff with easy access to ingredients during production. Refrigerated prep tables at the hot station and sandwich station also contribute to staff easily moving cold food prep from the kitchen into this space during down times.

Aurora medical center dining-RoomCustomers can choose among 88 dining seats, including single countertop seats overlooking the exterior courtyard, 2-tops for more privacy, banquettes of 2 or 4 for flexibility, a large table for group settings and several 4-tops. Photo courtesy of Aurora Medical Center Kenosha; photography by Bruce ParkerStaff working at the hot food and deli stations use high speed ovens as an alternative to fryers, versatile hot and cold wells, pass-through hot/cold units, open-air merchandising units, shaped steam pan inserts and serving casserole pans.

“Space was still limited so there was a focus on the use of lineal countertop space for merchandising,” Guyott says. “We designed a uniquely shaped salad bar that customers access for salad on the front side and snacks on the back side.” Customers can select from 40 rotating and occasionally themed menu items at the salad bar, which contains color-coated aluminum inserts.

The café also features a dessert station and cold and hot beverages.

Another labor-saving solution puts the cash register station on wheels so staff can move it to the end of the hot food station. “This allows the entire retail area to remain open and staffed with one person during weekends and evenings when transactions are low,” Guyott says.

The renovation generated a 33 percent increase in retail revenue during the past year. “Traffic is up in part by the addition of a new cashless employee-debit system and the acceptance of credit card transactions in the café,” Parker says. With the realization that staffing resources will continue to be crucial to support the new café, he adds, “This renovation project demonstrates that with sound planning and great project partners, an investment like this is bound to pay dividends both in increased revenue and customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

Facts of Note

  • Size of Hospital: 73 beds
  • Daily retail meal transactions: 360 average; up to 450 peak
  • Average check: $4.14
  • Hours of operation: 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
  • Staffing: 2 until 10:30 a.m.; 3 from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.; 4 for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.; 3 until 2:30 p.m.; 2 until 3 p.m.; and 1 from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Website:


  • At Aurora Kenosha: Lisa Schairer, director of support services; Bruce Parker, corporate retail and catering manager, Aurora System food and nutrition service; Margaret Muske, site leader
  • Foodservice design: Robert Rippe & Associates, Minneapolis; Christine Guyott, FCSI, RD, principal; Joy Enge, RD, senior equipment specialist; and Amy Fick, senior project manager.
  • Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Milwaukee
  • Equipment dealer: Boelter Companies, Milwaukee

The School Breakfast Program is one of the most important and unique programs run by Foodbank WA.

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is one of the most important and unique programs run by Foodbank WA. The program commenced in 2001, with 17 schools registering in response to a growing awareness that students were going to school most days without eating breakfast. Over 430 schools across the state are now involved in the Program, stretching from Kalumburu and Kununurra in the north to Esperance and Albany in the south, to remote schools along the South Australia/Northern Territory borders. The Program directly reaches over 17,000 children, serving over 55,700 breakfasts and 22,800 ’emergency’ meals per week.

Foodbank WA supplies quality School Breakfast Program food products to registered schools free of charge, to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to receive a wholesome, nutritious breakfast on a regular basis. Non-perishable SBP product include canned fruit in natural juice, wheat biscuits, oats, Vegemite, canned spaghetti, canned baked beans and UHT milk.. Where possible (subject to availability) schools are able to access fresh produce, including bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and yoghurt.

The School Breakfast Program would not be possible without the generous support of Foodbank WA’s government, corporate and philanthropic sponsors. These organisations provide funding so that Foodbank is able to purchase the breakfast food items and pay for the freight to deliver the breakfast product to outlying regional schools.

School Breakfast Program Impact

With respect to educational factors, School Breakfast Programs were perceived to contribute positively to:

  • Student punctuality by 81% of schools
  • Student attendance by 83% of schools
  • Student behaviour by 90% of schools
  • Student academic outcomes by 76% of schools
  • Student concentration by 95% of schools
  • Students’ social skills by 89% of schools
  • Student engagement with class activities by 81% of schools

With respect to wellbeing factors, School Breakfast Programs were perceived to contribute positively to:

  • Students’ physical health by 97% of schools
  • Students’ mental health by 91% of schools

With respect to nutrition factors, School Breakfast Programs were perceived to contribute positively to:

  • Students’ awareness of healthy eating by 90% of schools
  • Student food selection and food preparation skills by 75% of schools
  • Student eating behaviours generally by 86% of schools

With respect to social and environmental factors, School Breakfast Programs were perceived to contribute positively to:

  • The health promoting environment of the school by 93% of schools
  • Social relations between students and school staff by 91% of schools
  • Social relations between students and community members by 74% of schools

To view the 2014 School Breakfast Program Survey Report in full, please visit the Research & Evaluation tab.

A taste of school lunches around world

A taste of school lunches around world


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Assorted lunch plates are arranged at a table for students at the Bahria Foundation school in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Most of the kids seen there have home cooked food for lunch. Principal Syeda Arifa Mohsin says the school tries to dissuade parents from fixing junk food for their children. “If we discover that a child has junk food, we ask his or her parents to please make a little effort for their child’s health,” Mohsin says. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

SEATTLE (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is on a mission to make American school lunches healthier by replacing greasy pizza and french fries with whole grains, low fat protein, fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Associated Press helps you compare her efforts in the United States with what kids are eating around the globe by sending photographers to see what kids in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America ate for lunch this week.

The new American standards are giving kids in the United States a taste of the good life already experienced by school children around the world. Most countries put a premium on feeding school children a healthy meal at lunchtime.

Many kids go home to eat lunch with their families or bring a lunch cooked by their parents.

Although few schools sell lunch, snacks are available around the world. In many places those snacks are as unhealthy as treats in the United States: fried doughnuts in Mali and Pakistan, candy in the West Bank, fried chicken nuggets in France.

American children are more likely to eat a lunch made in a school cafeteria, although other countries are starting to adopt this practice as more mothers go to work outside the home.

In France, lunch is an art form: hot, multi-course and involving vegetables. While their mothers were at work Tuesday, children in Lambersart in northern France were served ratatouille, salmon, rice, a chunk of baguette and an orange.

Healthy lunches are offered in public school cafeterias in the United Arab Emirates but the children of foreigners attending private schools get fancier, multi-cultural offerings like American barbecue, Indian curries and Asian noodles.

Cuba provides all students with free school lunches, typically featuring rice, beans, another source of protein like a hard-boiled egg, a vegetable such as a sliced tomato and arroz con leche for dessert. Many parents send their children off to school with extra vegetables or a piece of fish or chicken to complement the free lunch.

Fresh food is also on the menu at the DEL-Care Edu Center in downtown Singapore, where students are fed breakfast, lunch and even dinner if their parents work late. Typical lunches include spaghetti marinara, fish slices, chicken casserole or lotus root soup.

Kids usually bring a home-cooked meal to school in Pakistan, where school leaders check lunch boxes for junk food and admonish parents to keep things healthy. A typical sack lunch at The Bahria Foundation school in Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital, Islamabad, includes eggs, chicken nuggets, bread, rice or noodles. Some also include leftovers such as minced mutton and vegetables cooked the night before.

Ecuadorean children bring sack lunches to school, typically a sandwich, juice, yogurt, cookies and piece of fruit.

In Federal Way, Washington, schools have embraced the first lady’s lunch campaign for the approximately 16,000 children who get a school-made lunch each day.

At Mirror Lake Elementary, about 20 miles south of Seattle, students ate grilled cheese sandwiches, corn salad, fresh carrots, apple sauce and low-fat milk on Monday. The bread was whole grain, the cheese low fat and low sodium, the carrots fresh and fruit the only dessert.

Fried food, white bread, sugar-laden desserts and overcooked vegetables have all but disappeared from the American school menu.

Anything kids can pick up with their fingers is popular in the younger grades. High school students enjoy some spicy and exotic choices, especially Asian flavors, says Federal Way chef and dietitian Adam Pazder.


AP reporters Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali, Zeina Karam in Beirut, Lebanon, Josef Federman in Jerusalem, Israel, Sameer Yacoub in Baghdad, Iraq, Nasser Nasser in Ramallah, West Bank, Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Angela Charlton in Paris and Anjum Naveed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Delores Ochoa from Ecuador, and photographers Wong Maye-E in Singapore and Franklin Reyes in Havana, Cuba, contributed to this story.


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Free and reduced school lunch applications now online

VINELAND – The school district is not mailing out free or price-reduced lunch applications this year, instead it’s asking parents/guardians to apply online.

This is another online service the district can now offer through PCS Revenue Systems, the district’s food service accounting software, said Helen Haley, the district’s business administrator.

Previously, the school district included an application with a parent notification letter about the lunch program. When the applications came back, she said, the information was cross-referenced with the district’s student database and manually typed in by staff.

Now, the applications will be electronically entered, she said.

About 6,000 students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, said Purvesh Patel, the Sodexo food service director for Vineland Public Schools.

Parents fill out one electronic application per household, Patel said, noting the applications are available in English and Spanish.

The online applications are available by clicking here:

“People can do it on their phone it is so easy,” Haley said.

It’s a secure website and a Social Security number is not requested on the application, Patel said. The school district processes the applications, which are then subject to review by State of New Jersey auditors to prevent fraud.

The online application process is an expansion of the district’s PayPams program.

Last year, the district used it to roll out an online application that allows parents to use credit cards to prepay for student lunches, set spending limits for their children and monitor their child’s school lunch purchases.

Going to an online system saves the district labor, paper and bulk mailing costs, Haley said. It also improves accuracy, she said, noting any discrepancies caught during a state review are noted in the district’s annual audit.

The free and reduced-price lunch application is now available online. Parents are urged to submit applications by Sept. 15.

If you’re not sure you qualify, the link does include an income eligibility chart.

The application does request a student identification number but parents do not need to include that at this time and can proceed with the application, Patel said.

Parents will receive a confirmation number when they’ve successfully completed the application.

The school board did vote earlier this month to raise the price of a school lunch.

An elementary school lunch will cost $2.65 and middle/high school lunches will run $2.80 when students return to school in September. However, the price of a reduced lunch remained steady at 40 cents.

For parents who do not have access to a computer or prefer not to file online, paper applications are available at each school or the food service office at 688 N. Mill Road, at the rear of Wallace Intermediate School.

Food service staff will be available 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday at the food service office at Wallace School to help anyone with the application, Haley said.

“This is a great process, it streamlines everything,” Patel said. “If you enter data incorrectly, it will notify you right away that it’s incorrect, so it won’t delay the process and the application.”

Deborah M. Marko; (856) 563-5256; DEBORAH M. MARKO, @dmarko_dj 11:16 a.m. EDT August 21, 2015