Fulton adjusts school meals for new federal guidelines

Thanks to new federal guidelines designed to encourage young people to make healthier eating choices, Fulton students are going to be seeing some changes in the cafeteria this year.

“We are serving meals that meet tough new federal nutrition standards, ensuring that meals are healthy, well-balanced and provide students all the nutrition they need to succeed at school,” Food Services Director Rhonda Fletcher said.

The new requirements include some adjustments to serving sizes, setting maximum calorie limits for meals and limiting the amount of meat/meat alternatives and grains and more servings of fruits and vegetables — students will now be required to have a half cup of fruit or vegetables on their tray for it to count as a full meal. Anything less than a full meal will be charged as individual items because the meal will no longer meet United States Department of Agriculture guidelines for a reimbursable meal.

Although the snack bar will still be in place at the high school and middle school, the fruit slushies will be smaller, the nachos and cheese will be made with baked chips and lighter cheese. The Little Debby cakes will be gone, although there will be healthier, low-fat cookies available, with a limit on the number a student can buy at a time.

Fletcher said the elimination of some of those “extra” snack items such as chips, animal crackers, Teddy Grahams, “things along those lines” that will now be available only occasionally is what will be hardest for students to get used to.

“They’ll also see an increase in different types of subgroups of vegetables that are offered, and they may possibly notice a change in the size of entree items because of limits on grains and proteins,” Fletcher said. “I won’t be able to offer cheeseburgers as often because the cheese is an extra ounce of protein, the pizza may seem smaller because the amount of bread will be smaller.”

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