The New Government Food Program
Our side of the story
We’ve all seen the news and recent viral videos about students complaining that they’re not getting enough food at the cafeteria to make it through the day without passing out at football practice. Some of this attention has been directed at us. While it’s true there have been some changes to our lunch trays, The Abbey Group has been well ahead of the curve in terms of healthy options offered at lunch. For example, we’ve been offering whole grains for decades and two years ago, we were recognized in our efforts by winning the national Whole Grain Challenge Award. Because of this, the transition for most that eat lunch with us every day has been relatively harmless. Some students haven’t even noticed the differences.
On the other hand, for those who are concerned that students are not getting enough food to eat to keep them full throughout the day, take comfort in knowing that kids are technically getting MORE food this year than last but they will only receive the nutritional benefits, i.e. keeping students full throughout the day, if they actually eat the extra food that they’re receiving.
These are the main differences that effect students who eat with The Abbey between last year and this year:
- Higher calorie maximums
- Looser guidelines on types of vegetables offered per week
- Larger protein portions per meal
- Larger grain potion per meal
- Lower calorie maximums
- Strict guidelines on types of vegetables offered weekly
- Smaller protein portion per meal
- Smaller grain portion per meal
- Unlimited access to fruits and vegetables
Why we’re conflicted
As much as some parents and students dislike the new meal patterns, we dislike not meeting a client’s satisfaction. And though we are required to support the USDA’s updated meal requirements and will continue to promote healthy eating habits, our hands are tied in terms of what we can offer students.
We will continue to strive to offer the highest quality, most local, fresh made products that we can. We are also soliciting inputs from schools and students to help generate new menu ideas that would better serve all of our students and customers.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding the new meal patterns please talk to your local food service manager, email email@example.com or visit the USDA website, for more information. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/nutritionstandards.htm