Newton County Schools’ school nutrition program is now meeting federal school lunch standards, which means that it is certified to receive a 6-cent reimbursement that will apply retroactively to each meal served since May 1 and to all future meals served.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed by President Obama in 2010, required changes in lunches and breakfasts served in school cafeterias throughout the United States.
As an incentive, HHFKA also stipulates that 6 cents per meal be reimbursed to school districts that certify that each meal served meets the new requirements.
The new law requires that school meals provide an appropriate number of calories for students based on their age groups, with breakfast providing one-fourth and lunch providing one-third of their daily needs. In addition, only fat-free and 1-percent milk options are offered to students.
It also outlines increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and requires that more than half of the grains offered at breakfast and lunch be whole-grain rich. In Newton County schools, this includes sandwich bread, hotdog and hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, tortillas, rice and breakfast favorites such as cinnamon rolls and pancakes.
In addition, Newton County students are offered choices within the vegetable sub-groups, including pinto and lima beans, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, romaine lettuce salads, steamed broccoli, cross-cut sweet potatoes and oven-baked sweet potato tots.