Did you know today in Clovis Unified School District, there are more fresh fruits and vegetables offered than ever before? CUSD understands without a doubt that parents want the best for their children. Here at CUSD we have the same motivation regarding your child’s health and nutrition needs.
The school menus are well thought out and structured to provide students with well balanced meals that emphasize whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables while minimizing the amount of certain fats and sodium.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets specific nutrition standards for the breakfast and lunch programs which are followed by CUSD. These recommendations are also aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to ensure adequate nutrition for the student’s growing bodies.
Parents looking at a sample school menu may believe the food offered is “unhealthy” or unreasonable to be put on the breakfast or lunch menu. However, every item on the menu is beneficial to the students’ health and has been carefully thought out. For example, the cheese-filled breadstick with marinara sauce might sound unhealthy but is in fact made with low-fat mozzarella cheese and contains whole grain-rich breading.
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Not only does nutrition matter, but so does the quality and taste of the food to attract students and have them eat lunch at school. This is why, at CUSD, we involve the kids in recipe taste tests to see their reaction towards what is put on the menu. CUSD feels it is important to include peer-to-peer taste tests and have student-led conversations about what the students like about the meals or certain food items. We want to know straight from students if a specific menu item would land him or her in the school lunch line to order it.
Every student must leave the lunch line with three out of the five components offered on the lunch menu for a meal to be considered reimbursable. One of those components must be one half cup of fruit or vegetable. If a child is coming home stating they are hungry, there might be reason to investigate further. Is he or she consuming a full meal? Is he or she throwing away the fruit or half of the main entrée, which provides fiber to help keep students full longer?
From a nutritional standpoint, if the students were to consume the food offered, they should not be in a state of hunger by the time school is out. With that said, some children require more calories than others based on gender, activity level or age. In this situation, CUSD recommends packing your child a snack to be consumed between lunch and the end of class. We believe no student should leave the National School Lunch Program hungry. Please bring this to our attention if your child has ever experienced this issue.
CUSD has implemented other changes to the menus along the lines of going from Nutrient Based Menu Planning to the New Food-Based Menu Planning. The main difference between the two is simple. The FBMP approach relies on food requirements (for example, 1 cup fruit) while the nutrient based menu planning relies on nutrient requirements (for example, a specific amount of Vitamin C). A major goal of FBMP is to ensure students participating in school meals have access to healthy foods in the key food groups – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, meats/meat alternatives, and fluid milk.
Within the vegetable food group, it is important to note the different subgroups required for menu planning. The vegetable subgroups include dark green leafy vegetables, beans and peas, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables and other vegetables. The purpose behind the subgroups is to provide a balanced variety of nutrients and minerals to the students throughout the week.
Campus Catering’s goal is to “Provide quality nutritional programs promoting healthy bodies.” Day in and day out, CUSD strives for excellence and continues to make improvements to our food served. CUSD is constantly staying up to date with current food trends and providing quality meals. If you ever have questions, ideas, concerns or just want to be in touch, please reach out to us! We want to hear from you and love working together to improve your child’s health. Contact the Director of Food Service, Robert Schram at firstname.lastname@example.org; our Registered Dietitian, Nancy Whalen at email@example.com; or our Nutritionist, Tawnie Kroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The weekly Voices column in The Clovis Independent features letters to the community from representatives of Clovis B.O.O.T. (Business Organization of Old Town), Clovis Police Department and Clovis Unified School District.
C.U.S.D. unveils new school lunch app
Parents in C.U.S.D. have a new way to access menus and nutritional information for their students’ school lunches. The district’s Campus Catering department has launched Nutrislice, an interactive website and app that makes paper lunch menus a thing of the past.
Nutrislice gives parents access to digital breakfast and lunch menus for every C.U.S.D. school. Here, they can click on individual menu items to view food descriptions, nutrition information, ingredient lists and even photos. Nutrislice can be accessed via the web (www.cusd.nutriclice.com) or a free, downloadable app available from the App Store and Google Play.