Child Nutrition employs more than150 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.
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 protected] or call 918-357-6137.
Charge It Up Assemblies
The Child Nutrition Department- served 1,270,296 lunches and 737,090 breakfasts during the 2019-2020 school year. When schools shut down due to Covid-19, Child Nutrition continued to serve meals free to all children out of four sites, providing almost a million meals – breakfast, lunch and supper. Adult meals were provided free once a week at Ochoa, and free produce and dairy boxes were provided for families once a week through the USDA Food to Family Boxes program.
The Child Nutrition Department – with four chefs and four dietitians – trains around 180 employees in culinary arts and safe food handling. The number of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch has steadily increased over recent years and is currently at 69 percent.
The district purchased fresh vegetables and fruits and local grass-fed beef from six local farms. Eight elementary schools participated in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant, which provided fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks each day in the classroom. A pilot program at McAuliffe and Ochoa Elementary schools taught students how to reduce waste foods, as well as how to compost and recycle. 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.
There are 14 schools participating in the after school supper meal program. 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.
Union was recognized by the United Fresh Produce Association as the “Produce Excellence in Foodservice for Schools” national award winner for the district’s use of fresh produce on our menus, nutritional education, and promoting consumption of more produce by children.
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.
The federal 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.