A Note from the Food Service Director:
Through the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, HHFKA, championed by the first lady, the USDA made its first major changes in school meals in 15 years. The new standards align school meals with the latest nutritional science and the real world circumstances of Americas’ schools. Presently, Congress is moving to reauthorize the school nutrition standards that were adopted in 2010 to continue to address the nation’s childhood obesity crisis. Over 30 million children are served school lunch daily, and over 5 billion lunches are served annually. Federal subsidies account for over 11 billion dollars to the school districts, and 1.3 billion dollars in commodity foods. The National School Lunch Program, NSLP is operating in over 99,500 schools & child care facilities. As the reauthorization moves forward, some remain opposed to the federal funding, and challenge the aggressive implementation of the HHFKA standards. This year the house voted to delay the sodium and whole grain targets that were previously set, these aggressive targets have been put on hold for another two years.
While school food operations continue to prioritize streamlining and stretching limited resources, balancing nutritional integrity, and budget crunching remain the most pressing issues. The school food meal programs have endured negative stereotyping for decades. Now faced with enrollment and participation declines, the rising costs of food, labor, benefits, and unfunded federal mandates. Here we are focusing on what we can do. At Palisades, our food service program continues to evolve. Students today enjoy a high level of responsibility for their own food choices as well as provide input. Our cafeteria employees are here to serve our students, many have dedicated their careers to this profession. Our food service department faces the challenge of creating menu items that are nutritious, while proving acceptable to some of the toughest food critics ever faced. With the required food reformulations our suppliers continue to see new product development as both an opportunity and a challenge. We continue to purchase high quality products, we serve name brands such as Jennie-O, Tyson, Maid-rite, Rich’s, Land o’ Lakes, McCain, Sunny fresh, and Del Monte. We continue to look forward to progressive menu changes. Our objective is to cook up delicious meals, bring in new menu items, and filter out the meals that the students don’t care for and may not purchase. We conduct student taste tests, food surveys, and hold routine food focus groups. We are also installing a cafeteria suggestion box at each of the buildings. We continue to enhance making healthy choices, through our wellness committees, providing education about nutrition, cooking, gardening, and physical activity.
NEW THIS YEAR! Homemade pizza every Friday in all of the cafeterias. Fruit & yogurt blender smoothies available every day. Pre-made grab n’ go salads at the middle school. Three choices of sandwich lunches will now be offered at the elementary schools. Turkey, ham, or bologna, including choice of milk, fruit, and vegetable, for $2.60. Our cafeteria computer system and software company is changing. With this change we will no longer use the on line lunch account payment system, called meal pay plus, and transition to a new on-line payment system, called School Café. You will now have immediate access to the nutritional information of the school meals.
Please review the cafeteria menu with your child to help them plan for a balanced meal. Each Tuesday, with the purchase of a complete lunch, the meal will be served with homemade soup. Soup will also available for .25, a la carte. Each Wednesday, with the purchase of a complete lunch, the meal will be served with a homemade scratch baked dessert. We offer additional snacks, soft pretzels, goldfish crackers, fruit cups, baked chips, yogurt sticks. These items follow the nutritional guidelines. We can limit or restrict additional purchases on your child’s lunch account. If you have additional questions about the breakfast or lunch program, you may contact your cafeteria crew chief directly or my office at 610 847-5131 ext. 5002.
We invite you to visit our cafeterias, and join us for breakfast or lunch. Please call your building secretary in advance, and review the time and procedure to arrive in the cafeteria.
Director of Food Services, Transportation and Warehouse