Abilene Independent School District is making some changes to their school lunch menus to meet the national Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act requirements.
The act requires the district to adhere to calorie, fat, and sodium limits for all meals while trying to create lunches that student will still enjoy.
“We’ve had to look for other opportunities to become creative to make menus that are appealing,” said Jay Towell, AISD Director of Student Nutrition, “not only for the grade level but also to meet the guidelines imposed by the Healthy Hunger Free Act.”
To help the cause, AISD has introduced new “build-your-own” meal lines that include the chance for secondary students to make their own sub sandwiches, salads, burritos, nachos, and even baked potatoes.
“When you truly have an offer versus serve concept, then I think that it truly gives the customer more opportunities,” said Towell, “to not only get what they want, but to decrease the waste.”
Students can get their required amount of fruits and vegetables each day in these lines.
According to the National Hunger Free Kids Act, elementary and middle school students must be offered a minimum of ½ cup of fruit, and ¾ cup of vegetables every day.
High school students must be offered at least one full cup of fruits and vegetables every day.
Finding a balance between meeting requirements and satisfying students is the main priority, but it does increase the cost of the meals.
Here are the prices of AISD school lunches over the past four years.
(Secondary – middle school and high school)
2011/2012 – Elementary - $1.60
Secondary - $2.10
2012/2013 – Elementary - $1.70
Secondary - $2.20
2013/2014 – Elementary - $1.80
Secondary - $2.30
2014/2015 – Elementary - $2.00
Secondary - $2.50