Are School Meals Healthy?
The nutrition goals for school meals are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children's calorie needs, and the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Conscientious efforts are made to increase fiber and reduce the amount of salt, fat and sugar in the meals. The following are examples of efforts the Jenks Child Nutrition Department has made to realize the goal of healthier school meals.
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables is offered daily:
Vegetables are prepared with very little margarine
Plate lunch menu items (i.e., french fries, chicken nuggets) are baked not fried
Ground beef is 80% lean, 20% fat, with the visible fat being drained off
2% and fat-free white milk and 1% flavored milk are offered daily
A healthy diet also consists of a variety of foods eaten in moderation. For this reason, students are offered a choice of menus or menu items.
WHY DO SCHOOL MEALS SEEM SO STARCHY?
Carbohydrates (starch) and fats are the major sources of energy in the American diet. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans increase their intake of complex carbohydrates and decrease their intake of fats. Complex carbohydrates are foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables. They provide calories, vitamins and minerals, and fiber to the diet.