FAQs: New School Lunch Regulations

Definition: A reimbursable meal is a school lunch that meets federal requirements. Reimbursable refers to the funds a school district receives from the federal government to offset a portion of the cost of school lunches.

Why are the regulations changing?

This is not a Waukee Community School District decision, but a federal mandate. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on January 26, 2012 published in the Federal Register its final rule revising the meal patterns and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to align them with the 2005 ‘‘Dietary Guidelines for Americans,’’ as required by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. The summary of the Final Rule notice indicates that the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat and trans fat in meals; and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. For more information about nutrition standards for school meals please visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/nutritionstandards.htm

Will I get charged for items not purchased?

No, students will not get charged for items not purchased. Nutrition supervisors will ensure that all elementary students have a reimbursable meal. At the secondary level, cashiers will also work to ensure that all students have a reimbursable meal, however, secondary students can refuse to accept the full meal. Here is an example. If a secondary student plans to purchase the following main menu item: CHEESE PIZZA, Green Beans, Romaine Salad, Fresh Orange Wedges and refuses to take any of the fruit and vegetable options offered they would be charged for the cheese pizza at the al a carte price instead of the regular lunch price because according to federal guidelines this would not be considered a reimbursable meal. For a list of a la cart prices please click here.

Do I have to pay more for the extra fruits or vegetables?

No, ½ cup of fruit or vegetable is part of the reimbursable meal. For example this could be a school lunch meal: CHEESE PIZZA, Green Beans, Romaine Salad, and Fresh Orange Wedges. Students may choose to have all choices or a combination of the fruits and vegetables offered that equal the required ½ cup.

Is my child required to take servings of fruits and vegetables for it to count as a full meal?

No, students are required to have ½ cup of fruit or vegetable on their tray for it to count as a reimbursable meal. All students will be offered fruits and vegetables and may choose to have a combination of both.

How are you going to monitor that every student will take the required ½ cup serving of fruit and/or vegetable required to meet the reimbursable meal?

Nutrition supervisors will ensure that all elementary students have a reimbursable meal. At the secondary level, cashiers will also work to ensure that all students have a reimbursable meal, however, secondary students can refuse to accept the full meal. Here is an example. If a secondary student plans to purchase the following main menu item: CHEESE PIZZA, Green Beans, Romaine Salad, Fresh Orange Wedges and refuses to take any of the fruit and vegetable options offered they would be charged for the cheese pizza at the al a carte price instead of the regular lunch price because according to federal guidelines this would not be considered a reimbursable meal. For a list of a la cart prices please click here.

Do we really have to follow these guidelines?

This is a federal mandate that all public schools must follow.  This is not just another option for menu planning but the only option for menu planning starting July 1, 2012.

 

To read The School Meals are Changing article click here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!
Nutrition Office-987-2719
Jeannie Allgood, Director of Nutrition
Carla Anderson, District Nutrition Supervisor-Elementary Schools
Marj Scheuerman, District Nutrition Supervisor-Secondary Schools

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701