Policy Area 3: Nutrition Standards for All Foods/Beverages
Research confirms that hunger affects learning, poor nutrition affects learning and overall health status, and school meals provide essential nutrients and calories. To that end, standards have been established to address all foods and beverages sold or served to students. The standards focus on increasing nutrient density, decreasing fat and added sugars, and moderating portion size.
Nutrition value of foods and beverages
The Lincoln Public Schools' lunch program aims to be appealing to children and to serve meals in clean and pleasant settings, and strives to meet or exceed the dietary guidelines, nutrient standards and portion allotments established by state and federal statutes and regulations for public school food service programs. Food and beverages that conflict with the District's policy of promoting a healthy school environment shall be discouraged. The dietary guidelines and nutrient standards shall follow the minimum standards set by Federal and State statute requirements including but not limited to USDA and Massachusetts Department of Education School Nutrition Programs and Services. The nutrient content of foods served as part of the school lunch program, including sugar content, shall be communicated to families on the monthly lunch menu.
Portion sizes will meet, at a minimum, the standards by grade level as defined by the federal government including the portion variations by grade level.
A la Carte, vending, student stores, or concession stands
The primary a la carte items to be offered are fresh fruits and vegetables. If a la carte desserts are offered, they shall be limited to one per student. If there should be vending machines on campus, it shall be limited to containing water, vitamin enhanced water and/or 100% juice beverages.
Parties, celebrations, meetings
The district recognizes that food and beverages often have an appropriate place in celebrations, special events and other occasions when members of a school community come together. In all of these instances, there should be a balanced approach so that there are always healthy options for food items, and less healthy foods should be offered in moderation. The district discourages the distribution of candy on school grounds and urges moderation when candy is available for special events (e.g. Valentine's day) or when used in special projects that support the curriculum.
Planners of these events should also consider portion size guidelines and whether there should be limits for children regarding how many portions they may have of certain food items being served. Administrator, teachers, parents and others responsible for class or school parties should consult regarding healthy party ideas.
The district discourages the use of food as a reward for academic performance or behavior unless indicated in a student's individual education or accommodation plans. Schools and school staff will also not withhold food as a punishment.
Food-related fund raising
The district discourages fund raising activities that involve food items that are not consistent with the nutritional value or portion size standards used for its food services programs. Moreover, the district encourages fund raising activities that promote physical activity.
Qualifications of food service staff
The district will contract with qualified nutrition professionals to administer the school lunch program. Staff development will include certification and/or training programs for all staff according to their level of responsibility and as required by law. Staff will be expected in regularly scheduled and appropriate seminars on topics including but not limited to food safety, choke prevention and fire safety.
Food or beverage contracts
Food or beverage contracts must follow state procurement laws and local purchasing practices. Food service distributors and vendors will be monitored to ensure that they provide predominantly healthy food and beverage choices that comply with this policy's purpose in all venues.
Key issues to be monitored for Policy Area 3