When Life Gives You Lemons…

Last year at this time, I found myself writing a post about how the USDA was requiring the school district to raise its lunch prices while simultaneously increasing the dietary restrictions on the food we serve.  Not much has changed in a year.  We’ve had to raise prices again to meet the federal pricing requirements and the dietary restrictions continue to narrow.

That being said, I can’t tell you how proud I am of our food service staff.  In the face of budget cuts that affect almost everything they do, they’ve found a way to stay positive and provide our students with high quality, delicious meals.  They’ve done a great job of making lemonade out of a tough situation.  But what else would you expect from our wonderful cooks.

Below I’ve reposted the information that our Food Service Director Gail Wilkerson has posted on the front page of our Food Service web page.  It’s well worth the time to read.  I would also encourage you to check out the wide range of information and tips that you can find there.   Many thanks to Gail and her staff.

Wonderful News

We are committed to providing high quality, healthful meals each day at a reasonable price. Even though we have had some federal mandates handed down from the United States Department of Agriculture that affect all nutrition programs across the nation, our menus are as hearty as ever. School lunch has been receiving a lot of negative press in the past year we wanted to take a moment to address your concerns and fears about what school lunch may look like for your children here in Pinedale.

SCSD#1’s nutrition staff is very passionate about serving healthy meals for kids and fostering healthy minds and bodies. We have been diligently working over the past ten plus years to improve our offerings, and still operate within the constraints of our budget, USDA commodities and use regulations, dietary guidelines, and food service industry product offerings. We do all this while juggling all the daily demands and pressures of daily operations of the nutrition programs, public scrutiny and serving kid friendly meals. We are delighted to announce that we are compliant with all the regulations without sacrificing quality or portion sizes.

Here’s what we offer:

  •  a wide variety of delicious entrees
  • low-fat and fat-free milk
  • low-fat, trans-fat-free meals with less than 10% saturated fat and less than 30% overall fat per meal
  • a colorful, wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
  • a wide variety of whole grain offerings
  •  Legumes fixed in a variety of ways

We were initially concerned with the minimum and maximum number of proteins and grains and the maximum calories allowed for each grade level. After countless hours and a major overhaul on our menus and recipes we are pleased to announce that most portions will actually be larger than they have been before. Entrée sizes will be the same or larger. Fruit and vegetable servings will be larger. There will be legumes offered every week. Where you will see a difference is in the number of desserts offered and the amount of bread, biscuits or rolls offered each week. We have reformulated recipes to put the nutritional impact and calories into the main entrée.

We will continue to offer a variety of whole grains, buns, tortillas, rice pilafs, breadsticks and trying new grains such a quinoa with less frequency of whole grain bread slices, biscuits and rolls.

We will also be offering some new menu items to enhance our student’s palettes. We encourage students to try the new items. Even though students will have full sized portions of all menu items if they don’t eat the full portion, they may still be hungry.

Students at the middle school and high school will also have available for purchase: chef’s salads, fruit trays, veggie trays, yogurt parfaits and caramel apple trays, yogurt and granola, water and juice for those who may need a few extra calories to sustain them.

High school students will be able to purchase a wide variety of entrees and side offerings on their al a carte line.

Breakfast will have the same healthful offerings for this year.

With the Healthy, Hungry Free Kid act, USDA has now mandated that school districts charge at least the nationwide average for school meals. The average that they have listed as our target is $2.46 per meal. Our school board has worked hard these past several years to keep meal prices low to insure greater access to school meals for all families by investing some of our recapture money in the nutrition programs. We sincerely thank them for their wise investment into the health and nutritional well-being of our children through these low prices for the past several years. With these new mandates our hands are tied and we must now move toward the nationwide minimum. You will see our meal prices take an increase for this school year. Keep in mind that the free and reduced price meal program is available to families with qualifying incomes. Please call for help in filling out your application.

Our prices for this year will be:

  • Breakfast: $1.30 for Elementary and $1.55 for MS/HS Extra breakfast items will be $1.00 cents each. Breakfast is served daily from 7:45-8:00 at elementary and daily at the MS cafeteria for MS/HS students from 7:30-7:45.
  • Lunch: $2.25 for Elementary and $2.50 for MS/HS students.

Visit our website for serving times and menus. You can also view your student’s meal balance from the home page.

Come join us anytime to see for yourself that quality and service are not compromised here. Please call us by 8:30 so we can adequately prepare for our extra guests. 367-2828.

We embrace the challenge of change, learning, growing and making the best even better! We remain committed to providing only the highest quality food and service as we help nourish the future leaders of our homes, city, state and nation. Our self-service health bar empowers students to make healthy choices by seeing what daily healthy choices look like. We continue to promote learning by creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime!

For more detailed information click on the red “here” link above and go to the button on the home page that says “About Our Program”.

We look forward to serving you and your students this year! Please don’t hesitate to call us at 367-2447 if you have any questions or concerns.

Delighted to Serve,

Gail Wilkerson, Nutrition Program Director

Advertisements

About Jay Harnack

Superintendent of Sublette County School District #1
This entry was posted in Pinedale Schools, School Nutrition. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When Life Gives You Lemons…

  1. Dahlia Griffin says:

    Gail is a treasure. Like many of the teachers and staff at the Elementary school, she lives and breathes her chosen career, and in so doing gives 100% for our kids! Thank you Gail!

Comments are closed.