Let’s Rethink Lunch: A Pilot Program of HCPSS
We are rethinking school lunch – and we hope you will too!
The school district’s lunches are a healthy option for local families. Thanks to recent strong federal standards, each meal contains lean protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk and meets rigorous standards for calories, percentage of calories from fat, amount of salt and nutritional content. There are even specific requirements that children get dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes at least once a week.
We don’t just meet national standards―we exceed them in ways you might not know about. For example, we do not fry anything, so we serve oven roasted potato wedges, not french fries. All of our ‘a la carte’ items for sale outside of the lunch menu have high nutritional content and low added sugar. We also support Maryland agriculture and business: all our milk comes from Frederick, our bread comes from Baltimore-based H&S Bakery, and many of our vegetables are grown in-state.
We think we can do even better with a new lunch menu. Last spring, we launched our “Let’s Rethink Lunch” pilot program at Bollman Bridge, Laurel Woods and Talbott Springs elementary schools with new fresh fruit and vegetable bars for students. This year, we start the second stage of the pilot: a new lunch menu for the three schools.
We want to do this to help more students eat better, and learn better. We want lunch to teach students about healthy eating – and prove that it can taste good!
The new pilot lunch menu is fresher with more options. In this new piloted menu, kids will have 10 healthy and tasty new entrée options, including a grilled chicken sandwich, a taco salad bowl, and a chicken ceasar wrap. Each lunch will include the fruit and vegetable bar and an additional hot vegetable. Pizza will be available 60 percent less often.
Learn more about our fresh fruit and vegetable bar initiative
Rethink packing lunch!
Scientists from Baylor, Tufts and Virginia Tech have found that school lunch is healthier than what many families pack, based on recent studies comparing lunches packed from home with lunches prepared at school.
The Virginia Tech study, for example, found that lunches students brought from home had more calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar than school lunches. School lunches, meanwhile, had more protein, fiber, and calcium, and many more vegetables.
The Baylor study found that 90 percent of lunches students brought from home included sweetened beverages, snack chips and desserts―none of which are included in national school lunches.
Rethinking lunch can mean packing differently! It could also mean trying school lunch – once a month, once a week or more!
Would you like to try buying lunch but are concerned about the cost? Maybe your family qualifies for the Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) program which will help your child get school lunch at little to no cost to you. Call your school or visit our FARMs page for more information.