Child Nutrition Services is proud to serve Five Star Meals that are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s MyPlate.gov. Each star of our Five Star Meal represents a piece of MyPlate and works together to provide a solid foundation for healthy living. Bite by bite, day by day, making healthy choices over time have positive effects that last a lifetime. Encourage your child to collect every star at every meal! Learn more about each star below or visit MyPlate.gov for even more information and resources.
Focus on fruits: Eating fruit has many benefits as they provide essential nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. Consider them nature’s candy! Research has shown people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk for chronic diseases. Each day we offer students plenty of fruit choices including seasonal whole fruits, fresh sliced apples, dried, canned, frozen fruits and 100% fruit juice. Students must select at least a ½ cup fruit or vegetable with their meal.
Vary your veggies: Have you ever heard the phrase, “eat the rainbow?” Plants contain different pigments, or phytonutrients, which give them their color. Different-colored plants are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients and health benefits. By eating a variety of colors you increase your intake of different nutrients that benefit different parts of your body. Over the course of a week, school meals offer students a nutrient dense array of dark leafy greens, red and orange vegetables, beans and legumes, and starchy vegetables. Students must select at least a ½ cup fruit or vegetable with their meal.
Make half your grains whole: Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including complex carbohydrates for energy, dietary fiber for healthy digestion, B vitamins for brain and cell function and minerals like iron that are essential for growing bodies. The USDA recommends that you should make half your grains whole, meaning grains that have not been milled to remove the outer bran and germ. We are proud to say AT LEAST 75% of our menu offerings are whole grain, including daily servings of whole grain breads, crackers and the occasional sweet treat on special menu days.
Go lean with protein: Protein, or meat/meat alternatives as it is termed in the school meal pattern, are the building blocks for bones, muscles, enzymes and hormones. They work with carbohydrates and fat to provide energy and help immune function by transporting vitamins and minerals throughout the body. Because some foods in the protein category are high in saturated fats, it is important to focus on lean proteins such as fish, poultry, soy, beans and legumes. Nuts, seeds and fish tend to be higher in essential omega fatty acids. Most sources of protein in school meals will come from lean meats such as chicken and turkey, however beef, pork and fish items will be identified on menus for dietary and allergy considerations. A vegetarian entree is available daily.
Switch to skim or 1%: The dairy group consists of milk, cheese, and yogurt. However in the school meal pattern, milk embodies the last star while cheese and yogurt find their spots in the meat/meat alternate group. During the growing years, milk is especially important for building and maintaining strong bones. It provides important sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D. Consuming low or non-fat milk helps limit saturated fat intake. Schools offer children two types of milk daily: 1% regular white milk and non-fat chocolate milk. Both of which are free from the artificial growth hormone rBST, antibiotics and high fructose corn syrup.