Answers to common nutritional questions!
Are amounts of fiber, sodium, saturated fat, and sugar within levels recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Are our menus Healthy)?
Yes we meet and exceed the 2005 guidelines. We make every effort to find products that have limited amounts of refined sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. We look for brands with at least 2 grams of fiber or more per serving.
Do you include whole grain products (e.g., whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa)? What percentage of meals include whole grain products?
We do offer whole grain products but this varies from school to school depending on their desires. If you like, we can offer whole grain bread, buns and rolls on all sandwiches with salads. We also can serve pasta products that contain a mixture of Durham and whole wheat flour. Our rice products can also include mixtures of wild, whole grain and basmati rice. We do not currently use quinoa but can come up with a recipe if this is something the student body would eat. 80-90% of our meals contain whole grains in one form or another.
Do you use low-fat dairy products?
We use non fat and low fat dairy products in all of our food preparation.
Are there at least two servings of fresh fruits and vegetables offered at every meal?
Yes there are always at least two servings of fruits and vegetables offered. Again we can tailor the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables to your needs. We make every effort to add fresh vegetables where possible. Often times instead of chips, we provide cut up celery and carrots. We offer tomato and lettuce toppings for sandwiches.
Is a variety of fruits and vegetables offered regularly, including leafy green vegetables (e.g., romaine or green leaf lettuce, spinach, kale), orange vegetables (e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin), beans, citrus fruits?
Currently carrots, leafy green lettuce, celery and tomato are our standard vegetables because when we do plate waste studies we find those are the ones consistently eaten, but we can add other varieties in chilies and casseroles or other main entrees. We offer grapes, apples, oranges, peaches, mixed fruit cup and applesauce as our main fruit choices. We even have Trans fat free fruit roll ups.
Are there any trans fats in the food?
While the government allows 0.5mg/trans fat/serving in trans fat free foods, we make every effort to avoid products with any trans fat. The food industry is in transition and many of the commercial products provided to food service companies have not caught up with current trends. Sometimes we have to make a choice between whole grains and a minimum amount of trans fat in a product. We weigh these choices carefully and opt for the best solution. So I would say that 99% of the food we serve is completely trans fat free with an exception of one or two products.
How are correct portion sizes determined/measured? (Do serving sizes meet Dietary Guidelines?)
We use serving sizes that meet the dietary guidelines. A standard starch serving is ½ cup; protein 3 oz; vegetables ½ cup. Fruits are also standard portions. Most meals have 2-3 servings of starch or carbohydrates (including the dessert), one fruit, one to two vegetables and three ounces of protein. Most of our fat comes from mono and polyunsaturated fats. We make every attempt to include heart healthy fats in our foods and avoid saturated animal and vegetable fats.