Orange County Public Schools improve school lunch, breakfast program

School lunches, breakfasts to be healthier with state standards

ORLANDO, Fla. - As students and teachers gear up to go back to school, Orange County Public Schools is working on new changes to school nutrition programs.

Orange County Public Schools will implement new standards for the School Lunch and Breakfast program as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new national standard on programs. The new changes will reflect the most current dietary research and help control childhood obesity.

The new standards include:
• Substantially increasing offerings of whole-grain rich foods;
• Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
• Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans-fats and sodium.
• All foods offered to students during the school day must meet nutrient standards.
• All students will be required to take a fruit or vegetable serving at lunch.

OCPS will also require that:
• All grains such as pasta, breads, and pizza crust will be 51 percent whole grains;
• All beverages other than water are limited to a 12 oz. serving size;
• All a la carte sales will meet the nutrition standards;
• New Cafeteria Salad Bar at every school. Students assemble their own fresh salads, which is part of the "Fresh to Schools" initiative and the "Offer vs. Serve" system;
• Every student will be able to choose a fruit and vegetable from a large variety of fresh options;
• There is no increase in the cost of school meals.

"Orange County Public Schools embraces the new National Standard changes to school meals. We always look at providing the finest nutritional support contributing to the overall wellness of our students, to help them perform at their best. We take it a step further and taste test all foods with our students. We have local chefs develop menus and recipes too. Because if it is not eaten, it's not healthy," said Lora Gilbert, senior director OCPS Food & Nutrition Services in a release.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.