Frequently Asket Questions
Friendly Reminder: Free and Reduced applications for next year will not be accepted until after July 1st, 2015
Q: Who plans school menus?
A: The menus are planned by supervisors, school kitchen managers and staff, students, and parents. Many factors, such as student acceptance of food items, dietary guidelines, production, serving, and cost, are considered when planning menus.
Q: Are school meals healthy?
A: Yes, school meals are healthy choices for students. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods eaten in moderation, and school meals strive to provide that variety. Every meal includes a meat or meat alternate, a bread or grain product, at least two fruits and/or Fresh or frozen never canned vegetables, and non-fat or low-fat milk. Each year, we are expanding our selection of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grain items so students have many healthy options. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Program requirements to ensure that all breakfast meals provide 1/4 and lunches provide 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calories, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Each weekly menu has less than 30% of calories from fat, and less than 10% of calories from saturated fat.
Q: How is the school menu determined?
A: USDA has created a method of menu planning for school breakfast and lunch programs that requires a certain number of "components" be offered at each meal. There are 4 categories of components in a school meal - bread, meat/meat alternate, fruit/vegetable, and milk. At breakfast, 4 components must be offered - milk, a fruit/vegetable/fruit juice, and a choice of 2 breads, 2 meat/meat alternates, or 1 bread and 1 meat/meat alternate. Students must take at least 3 components to fulfill a reimbursable meal. At lunch, 5 components must be offered - milk, bread, meat/meat alternate, and at least 2 different fruits/vegetables. Again, students much take at least 3 of the components in order to be considered a reimbursable meal. If a student takes less than 3 components they will be charged a la carte pricing for each item.
Q. Does my child always receive everything on the menu?
A: Every student is offered every item on the menu. However, they are only required to take 3 of the 4 components offered at breakfast and 3 of the 5 components offered at lunch. One of those components must be a fruit or vegetable. For example, a hamburger contains a bread component and a meat component so a student could take the hamburger and fruit or vegetable and that would be considered a full meal. Although we offer many options, the student can ultimately choose what they would like to take.
Q: Why do parent meals cost more?
A: As part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, we receive a reimbursement from the federal government for student meals which allows us to keep student prices low. We do not, however, receive any reimbursement for adult meals. Therefore, we love for parents to join us for lunch, but the meal will be slightly more expensive than your child’s.
Q: Can I limit my child’s a la carte purchases?
A: Yes. You can contact your child’s school kitchen to prohibit your child from purchasing a la carte items or to request only certain items are purchased. The kitchen staff will put a reminder of this in the computer in case your child attempts to purchase something that you would like them to avoid.
Q: Why do the school meals contain so many “junk” food items?
A: Unfortunately, pizza, hamburgers, tacos, and other popular food items have become labeled as “junk” foods. However, these foods have nutritional value and can be prepared in ways that are healthy. For example, our pizza is prepared on whole grain crust with low-fat cheese and sometimes topped with turkey pepperoni, and our bread items are whole grain with lettuce and tomato. These foods can be part of a healthy, balanced diet and we are striving to provide nutritious food choices that appeal to students.
Q: What if my child has a food allergy?
A: Schools may take food allergies or intolerance into consideration, but they may not be required to accommodate all food allergies. Meals for students with special needs must have a medical doctor fill out a “Meal Modification form” available with the school nurse. Our kitchens are sensitive to common allergens, specifically peanut allergies. For this reason, our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are prepackaged to avoid contamination of other food items. In most cases, food allergies can be managed within the normal meal service due to the variety of choices available through Offer vs. Serve. If you have questions about the ingredients for a specific menu item please call 303-450-3985 ext. 1161.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272 (voice) and 202-720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.