Laredo Independent School District‘s Child Nutrition Program operates a non-profit
USDA federal entitlement program for serving meals to school children
under the National School Breakfast
(NSB), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and Afterschool Snack
Program. Child nutrition programs that
operate the NSLP receive cash subsidies and USDA donated foods for the meals
served to children: in turn, child nutrition programs assure that meals served
meet USDA nutrition requirements of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
LISD’s Child Nutrition Program operates the meal program
under an alternative option called Special Assistance Provision 2 allowing
child nutrition to provide free meals to all enrolled students. Under this alternative, a district must meet
the requirement of a high percentage of their student population qualifying for
free and reduced priced meals. In
addition, it also lessens the burden of paperwork on the parents by not
requiring them to fill out lunch applications and on district staff by not
determining eligibility (free, reduced, and paid) and required verification of
lunch applications. The same nutrition
standards have to be followed, however.
This upcoming school year “12-“13, USDA mandates that all
meal programs follow the new nutrition guidelines of the Healthy Hungry-Free
Kids Act of 2010 which reflect the most updated advancements in dietary
science. A few of these new
requirements will begin this upcoming school year and others will be gradually
phased in. Menus will be planned
according to grade levels: PK,
elementary, middle and high and must meet the specific calorie requirements of
each of the grade categories. In
summary, serving size limits will be placed on certain types of foods while
requiring more fruits and vegetables to be offered. Of particular interest are vegetables;
students must be offered a variety of subgroup of vegetables on a weekly basis
with a minimum amount to be offered daily.
A minimum amount of fruit will be offered daily as well. More whole grains will be incorporated into
the meals. Unflavored milk is low fat or
fat free and flavored milk offered is fat free.
Limits on saturated fats and trans fats will also be met. The last phase of these changes will involve
setting sodium limits in our meals. All
of these changes are aimed at lessening the current rising rates of childhood
obesity and combat childhood hunger which represent among others, a health
challenge to our nation’s future generation.
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