The Child Nutrition Department plays a critical role in establishing a healthy school nutrition environment for the promotion of optimum health. In addition to providing nutritious meals in each school cafeteria, the Child Nutrition Department helps sets goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness.
Also, see Food Menus.
By establishing nutrition standards for all foods that are available on each school campus during the school day, the department assists the district in promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity.
The department also provides guidelines for student wellness and is instrumental in measuring the implementation of the wellness policy by involving a broad group of individuals in its development and growth.
Child Nutrition employs over 150 professionals that include managers, team members, drivers, warehouse workers, and supervisors. School meals are planned by registered dietitians to reflect the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov and student preferences as determined at student taste parties. Low cost, nutritious school meals are served to more than 16,000 customers every day and breakfast is offered in all schools.
Breakfast and Lunch Program
Union students have the option of bringing their lunch or purchasing a hot lunch, sandwich or salad in the school cafeteria. Elementary students may make prepayments on their accounts with the cafeteria manager between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. or the Parents may make on line prepayments through the My Lunch Money site. If lunch money is lost or forgotten, an elementary student is permitted to charge lunch for three days only. Upon accumulating three charges, the student will be served an alternate. No lunch charges are allowed at the secondary level. Food may not be ordered from outside vendors and/or delivered to school without prior permission from the principal. Parents must check in at the school office first when delivering food items. Parents must be present with the student in the cafeteria if food is brought in from outside.
Charge It Up Nutrition Assemblies
Union Child Nutrition Department is always looking for ways to creatively teach kids about nutrition and how to “Charge Up” their bodies for good health. The department collaborates with Union High School’s Marketing and Promotions classes to put on fun, interactive, nutrition education assemblies for elementary students. This partnership allows a large number of students to receive healthy messaging and provides them the opportunity to see High School students role modeling healthy behavior. Please see our promotional videos for both elementary age groups. To schedule an assembly, please contact the Child Nutrition Department at email@example.com or call 918-357-6137.
The Child Nutrition Department served 1,752,582 lunches and 1,047,130 breakfasts during the school year, along with 44,259 supper meals and 813,378 snacks. Summer meals included 13,222 breakfasts and 23,544 lunches. The number of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch has steadily increased over recent years and is currently at 70.24 percent.
The district purchased fresh vegetables and fruits from six local farms. A pilot program at McAuliffe taught students how to reduce wasting foods, composting, recycling. The district’s two nutrition educators conducted 400 nutrition education classes, two farm-to-student events, six nutrition and activity assemblies, and participated in community nights.
A federally funded supper program was implemented in 2015-2016, feeding an afternoon meal to 200-300 High School students each school day. This year, the program expanded to include the 6th/7th Grade Center and McAuliffe in late November, and plans to expand it further include the 8th Grade Center and additional elementary schools. The program reduces hunger among students who otherwise might not get a good, healthy afternoon meal and encourages participation in after-school programs that tend to drive class attendance and performance.
Federal requirements on snacks
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requiring school cafeterias to make significant changes to the meals students receive during the school day. Changes phased in over several years include decreased fat and sodium, and increased amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains served throughout the week. These changes have been made by the United States Department of Agriculture.
This year, beginning July 1, the requirements include changes in the nutritional standards for snacks, called “Smart Snacks”. Smart Snacks set the standards for all foods sold throughout the school day including cafeteria a la carte options, vending machines, school stores, snack bars, fundraisers, and at school activities.
The nutrition standards for snacks are as follows:
- whole-grain rich products
- or the first ingredient must be a fruit, vegetable, dairy product, or protein food
- or may be a combination food containing at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable
- or contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)
- Limitations on sodium, sugar, fats, and calories
Beverages sold during the school day will also be required to meet set standards:
- Schools may sell water, unflavored low fat milk, unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives, 100% fruit or vegetable juice or 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water with no added sweeteners
- Milk may be up to eight ounces in the elementary schools and may be up to 12 ounces in middle and high school
- High schools may also sell no calorie and low calorie beverage options such as flavored water, and carbonated beverages with less than five calories per eight fluid ounces and no more than 12-ounce portions of beverages with 40 calories per eight fluid ounces or 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces
Lastly, all food and beverage fundraisers located on school property must meet the minimum requirements in the nutrition standards for foods sold in school. Therefore, fundraising that sells high fat and/or high sugar items such as candy or snack foods are not be permitted during the school day. It is important to note, the standards do not apply to fundraisers that are off campus or during the weekends.
These changes are being made in order to offer your children only healthy and nutritious food options while they are at school, allowing them to be the best student they can be. We appreciate your support as we transition to smart snacks in school.
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