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Food Services starts out with a bang for Summer School!

posted May 30, 2017, 5:34 AM by Cabool R-IV Schools

Summer school started out with a bang this year! We've had the highest meal counts for summer school this year than I have seen yet. The summer school lunch requirements allow us a little more flexibility with the menu then the regular school year so we are able to serve some different items that the students won't see during the regular school year. As for the end of the regular school year, everything went smooth even with all of the rain. A few things were moved or cancelled but in the end it all worked out.

I applied for five equipment and BIC supply grants last month. We have received two responses to date, one approval and one denial, however I do not know which specific one was approved. I hope to hear more specifics in the coming weeks, along with responses for the other three.
I am working on next year’s menus already and am planning on having the salad bars set up and breakfast truck rolling starting the first full week of school. We have a plan to keep the food truck rolling at the high school for the entire school year for 17/18, with the exception of severe weather days. Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) will continue at the elementary and middle schools. I am hoping that these grants I applied for will allow us to purchase more equipment that will allow us to provide a bigger range in breakfast items available, therefore making the BIC program even better. We will also be continuing the breakfast - lunch swap on the last day of most months. This was a big hit at all three schools and we plan to continue this until the students say differently. One last thing is we will be having "Fresh Fridays." This means that every single Friday all fruits and veggies served will be fresh, not canned or frozen. As much as I would like to serve fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, it is just simply not possible, especially during the winter months.

We are also seeing some changes in the nutritional requirements for the National School Lunch Program from the Trump administration starting next year. The whole grain requirement will be relaxed to go from 100% of the grains served being whole grains to 50% of the grains being whole. This means we can go back to white enriched on some items, like hamburger and hotdog buns, rolls and biscuits. Some of the items will stay whole grain, like flat breads, bagels and breaded items, like chicken nuggets. Please remember that just because the requirements have been relaxed, it doesn't mean that the manufacturers like Tyson and Foster Farms will be able to put out a reformulated product right away. These companies just spent a significant amount of time, resources and money refitting factories and reformulating products to conform to the radical changes that came a few years ago. It will take time, but I assure you that I will incorporate all of these new changes to make the school lunches better just as soon as I have product available. Additionally, they are also keeping the sodium levels the same and not reducing these levels as previously outlined and the milk rules are changing just a little bit as well, now allowing the flavored milks to go from mandatory non-fat to allowing 1% flavored milk.
On an ending note, I want to send out a great BIG thank you to Chris Reese and the amazing maintenance crew for all of the hard work they are putting in to update and improve the three cafeteria kitchens. New paint, new ceiling tiles, fixed leaky faucets, all of the things they do for us are very much appreciated - these ladies and gentlemen are amazing!

Until next time, eat healthy and stay safe

Leslie Edwards - Food Services Manager