The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has been a challenge for Delta County Joint School District #50, food service director Rhonda Vincent reports.
Implemented in the fall of 2012, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is intended to help provide schoolchildren with healthier and more nutritious food options, educate children about making healthy food choices, and teach them healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
The act represents a major step in the challenge to fight childhood obesity and improve children's overall health.
In the school cafeterias, fresh fruits and vegetables are served more frequently, while limits are placed on calories, fat, meat and grains. Unfortunately, middle and high schoolers do not find the meals satisfying, especially in terms of their size.
As a result, the school district saw a 13% decrease in lunches from last year and a 2% decrease in breakfasts.
"Our high schools accounted for 50% of this decrease, middle schools counted for 20% and the elementary schools were 30%," Vincent said. "Our full-paid meals made up the majority of the decrease in meals. The decrease in breakfast was mainly with our high school students."
Delta County Joint School District #50 served 369,278 student lunches and 126,060 student breakfasts in 2012-13.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables are an important source of the fresh produce served to students, Vincent added. The school district bought produce from 14 local farms and orchards, beef from Homestead Meats and had fresh corn on the cob donated.
As a result of meeting the requirements of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, Delta County Joint School District #50 will be reimbursed 6¢ for each meal served during the school year. Vincent said Delta County was the third school district in the state to get certified.
To remain in compliance, the school district must meet price requirements outlined in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. That means increases of 10¢ for lunches — PK-5 to $2.50, 6-8 to $2.65 and 9-12 to $2.75.
Breakfast prices will also be increased for the first time in three years. They'll go up a nickel, to $1.35 for PK-5 and $1.55 for grades 6-12.
The quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables that must be included in each meal is a major factor in the price increase, Vincent noted.
Districtwide, 52 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price meals.
Vincent concluded her presentation to the school board with praise for the lunchroom ladies, who went "above and beyond their usual scope of work" to meet the requirements for the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.blog comments powered by Disqus