By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
These are the newest requirements to school foods services for Garden Grove, in part of a national move to ensure healthier eating for students.
Agnes Lally, director of food services, presented new information and regulations for the Garden Grove Unified School board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The current challenge, according to Lally, will be meeting the state regulations and indexes for what and how much of each food group can be served and still make it appealing to students.
Food servings are broken down in size and makeup by age group: K through 5, 6 through 8 and 9 through 12.
All school served meals must be comprised of 3 out of 5 menu items offered plus a half-cup of fruit or vegetables.
The K through 5 students may be served 1,230 mg of sodium, 6 through 8 can have 1,360 mg and 9 through 12 can have 1,420 mg.
There are weekly minimums and maximums on grain intake per group. Elementary school students are allowed 8-9 ounces of grains, middle school students 8-10 ounces and high school students 10 – 12 ounces.
For meat or meat alternative, elementary may have 8-10 ounces, middle school 9-10 ounces and high school 10-12 ounces.
All food programs will have to have their menus certified and audited by the state.
The food services program serves approximately 47,184 program meals in its daily participation. That breaks down to 10,271 breakfast meals, 32,224 lunch meals, 4,691 snacks and 1,795 summer school meals.
Annually it is 8,260,855 total meals served.
That’s 277,833 lbs of fruits, 193,321 lbs of meat, 134,635 lbs, 107,620 of cheese and 65,810 lbs.
Lally said that the new regulations makes planning meals a little tricky.
For example, before, a chicken patty sandwich would be served in a bun. Now, the patty is smaller and is served with a dinner roll.
GGUSD’s food services have worked in the past to ensure more produce at schools by having salad carts with vegetables and fruit at eat school.
It is a self-supporting operation and operates on a budget of $29 million per year.
Food services take their job very seriously and makes sure that what they are putting on plates will be well received by the students.
“We’ve done taste testing at schools, sometimes 10 schools per food item to see what the students think,” said Lally.
There are also accommodations made for students with dietary sensitivities and religious restrictions.
“I continue to be amazed that the things that come down from Sac that could be problems, come here and are positive things. We make lemonade out of lemons on a pretty regular basis and have a pretty good team here,” said Bob Harden, board member.