This year marked the debut of new federal requirements for school lunches and Janie Duffy, OPAA! food management, told the Nevada R-5 Board of Education Wednesday night that under the new rules there are five meal components: meat or meat substitute, grain, fruits, vegetables and milk. She said that each student maychoose to skip two components, however, they must have one-half cup of a fruit or vegetable or a combination of the two.
Duffy said that the new regulations limit the amount of starch that makes it almost impossible to include any kind of dessert.
"Cookies and cake are pretty well gone because of the limits on grain," he said.
"We can't even do sandwiches every day because of the limits on grain," she said.
Since the new requirements were implemented Duffy said that the media has carried reports of students being hungry after they have finished their meal. To help eliminate that problem she said that OPAA! will allow students to have all the servings of fruits and vegetables they want.
As part of the requirements she said they have to offer students some dark red, dark orange and dark green vegetables during the week. These include things like kale and broccoli.
She said they have also used sweet potato fries and tater tots, but the students do not like them.
"They also must have a dry bean selection once each week," she said.
"It's a matter of redirecting kids to try different things," board member Joy Hawks said.
"This is supposed to be a balance between malnutrition and obesity," Duffy said.
She told the board they make sure all the meals they serve are reimbursable, which gets the district a $3 federal reimbursement for each meal.
"That's what allows us to feed kids," Dr. David Stephens, R-5 superintendent, said.
Duffy told the board that because of the new guidelines the food costs more. The suppliers have had to change from white bread for example to bread that is half whole grain, which is more expensive.
"So this year the government is offering an additional 6 cents reimbursement if we meet the guidelines," she said, adding that the 6-cents may not sound like a lot of money, but when you consider the number of meals the district serves, it is a lot of money.
In response to a question from board member Mike McCaffree, she said that she thinks more students are bringing their lunches because of the meals.
"I think that if more parents came in and saw that they can take all the fruit and vegetables they want they would have a different opinion," she said.
"I wish I could get more parents in to see what we're offering," Duffy said.
"Company-wide we're seeing a drop due to the new regulation or 3 percent overall," she said.
In other business the board:
* Voted 7-0 to approve a committee to submit three names to the R-5 board for the new performing arts center.
* Voted 7-0 to accept the district's annual audit.