FLEXIBILITY FOR THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR BY DEB GLASSER, MS, RD
Game Grain Changer
The USDA has granted flexibility to schools for the 2019-2020 school year for whole grains, flavored low fat milk and sodium. Pulling back the reigns was purportedly done to help schools overcome the challenges that the HHFKA Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (2010) initially presented. Among those challenges, school lunch providers expressed their concerns over decreased student participation, meeting targets for reducing sodium content and using exclusively whole grains. The “final rule will require that half of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menu be whole grain-rich” which offers the opportunity to make some essential changes.
It’s no secret that whole grain pasta is difficult to work with: texture and color is always an issue. No student wants to eat grey looking macaroni and cheese, and whole grain pasta isn’t nutritious if it ends up in the trash. As a result, SNP has reintroduced enriched pasta into our menus which, needless to say, students are thrilled about. Additionally, we are swapping our whole grain tortillas, used in our burritos, wraps, and quesadillas with enriched flour ones. Other than pasta and tortillas, we continue to use whole grain buns, bread, biscuits, and brown rice exclusively in our kitchens.
SNP is consistently working to develop nutritious recipes that offer our students great flavor, and quality ingredients. Our chefs are adding loads of seasonal vegetables and lean proteins to our pasta dishes and wraps and students are cleaning their trays. We are committed to providing our students with healthy meals and strive to innovative within the confines of the USDA NSLP guidelines.