Letter from the Child Nutrition Director
On Dec. 13, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This historic legislation marked the most comprehensive changes to the school nutrition environment in more than a generation. The last update to school meals standards was more than 15 years ago. Since that time, tremendous advancements in our understanding of human nutrition have occurred. In response to that reality, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update school meal nutrition standards to reflect the most current dietary science.
The timing of this legislation and USDA’s standards are critically needed to help combat the epidemic of childhood obesity as well as the urgent problem of childhood hunger. Nearly one in three children are at risk for preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease due to overweight and obesity. If left unaddressed, health experts tell us that our generation of children may well have a shorter lifespan than their parents. During 2010, more than 17 million U.S. households, representing more than 32 million adults and 16 million children, struggled to put enough food on the table.
Therefore, school meals are extremely important to the health and wellbeing of our students. We take great pride in meeting the new USDA standards, and are privileged to be involved in the educational process of teaching Mustang’s kids how to eat healthy for a lifetime. We will be serving more fruits, more varieties of vegetables, more whole grain-rich products and reduced sodium products. Please help us teach your children how to eat healthy by reinforcing our standards in your households and talking to your kids about the importance of healthy eating.
In the 2012-13 school year we made every line a “reimbursable” meal line, meaning regardless of the child’s income status (free, reduced or full-priced), he or she will be able to go to any line and get a meal that qualifies under the National School Lunch program. In our secondary schools, in order for a meal to qualify as reimbursable, it must contain at least three of the five components offered. One of those three items must be half a cup of fruit or fruit juice or half a cup of vegetable. By offering more reimbursable lines, more fruits and vegetables will be readily available to all students – thus meeting our goal.
The 2014-15 school year once again holds changes for Child Nutrition. New USDA guidelines were implemented on 7/1/14 providing that all foods sold within the school day are foods that have good nutritional value – this includes all ala cart food items sold in the cafeterias, in vending machines, in student stores, etc. In doing this, the message is consistent throughout the district that we are teaching children to make healthy choices for a lifetime.
Sincerely, Tammy Bales, Child Nutrition Director