When students return to Fairfax County Public Schools for the 2012-13 school year, they will see some changes in school cafeterias.
Among them: the new All Star Lunch program, based on new federal nutrition standards, created by FCPS’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). The All Star Lunch program will teach students about the five components of a healthy lunch: protein, grains, milk, fruits, and vegetables.
Elementary school students who purchase lunch may select three, four, or all five of the stars and will be required to select a serving of fruit or vegetables as part of their lunch. Seasonally-grown fruits and vegetables from individual school gardens and the Virginia Farm to School program will be used in school lunches whenever possible.
Students will learn about nutrition in the classroom as part of the established curriculum, as well as from FNS staff members.
Registered dietitians and chefs have been creating school meals to conform to the new federal requirements and reflect students’ personal preferences, which are registered at monthly student taste parties.
Among the changes to FCPS school lunches, based on the new federal nutrition standards, are:
- A reduction in calories, tailored to the grade level of the students.
- Reduced protein (meat and meat alternates) portions for students in grades K-5.
- Limited numbers of servings of whole grain-rich breads and cereals.
- A choice of only fat-free flavored or unflavored milk or one percent unflavored milk.
- A focus on reducing saturated fats and sodium and serving foods with zero trans fats.
A complete list of ingredients for all meal items and a la carte items will be available on the FNS web site in late August. In the past year, at the request of some parents, there has been an 80-percent reduction in the number of additives and preservatives in school meals.