Saturday, September 3, 2016

School Lunch

As we settle into classroom routines and get the school year rolling, we don’t have a lot of special events to post on, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share with you some information about our cafeteria and some of the healthy and great changes that have been made by Austin ISD.

School meals help provide students with the nutrition and energy they need to excel in the classroom each day. The Austin ISD Nutrition & Food Services team are committed to supporting the academic achievement of all students by providing nutritious, appetizing meals that promote health, well-being and learning. There are many positive changes happening in our school cafés helping to make them a healthy dining destination for our students each day.

Here are a few ways our cafés are changing the perception of school cafeteria cuisine and the student dining experience:

- We offer a nutritious breakfast served in our café each morning. Breakfast options include healthy protein and grain options, as well as fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice and low-fat milk. This year’s menu includes many scratch-made items and features seasonal fresh fruit.

- Both breakfast and lunch menus will be on a seasonal rotation to offer a variety of flavors to our students, as well as local produce.

- With the help of our district chef, as well as nationally and locally recognized chefs, more global cuisine will be incorporated onto our menus to accommodate our diverse student body and expose students to new flavors.

- A minimum of three local items are on our menus each day. Programs like Farm to School and Farm Fresh Fridays will continue this year, which will feature produce items from local farms like Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

- We’re committed to providing food with high quality ingredients. Our menus are free of any high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and trans fats. Student favorite, chicken tenders, are made-from-whole-muscle meat and free of any antibiotics, and our hot dogs are nitrate-free turkey hot dogs.

- Vegetarian options are offered daily.

- Our café features a made to order salad bar two days each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Salad bars feature local produce options and allow students to choose their protein, vegetable and grains. Every two weeks, salad bars rotate through themes such as Chef, Fiesta, Asian and Mediterranean.

Please note: the prices of Austin ISD school lunch will increase for the 2016-17 school year by $.10, as a requirement of U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations.

- Elementary lunch prices will increase from $2.60 to $2.70
- Secondary lunch prices will increase from $2.75 to $2.85

Our menus provide the best value option for a tasty and nutritious meal for children.

Breakfast meal prices will not be affected and will remain at the current cost of $1.50. The price increase will have no effect on students who qualify for federally subsidized meals.

Does your household qualify for free or reduced price meals? Find income guidelines and free and reduced price meal applications here: A new meal application must be submitted each school year.

If you haven’t visited our school café recently, I encourage you to do so. I know you will be pleasantly surprised with the nutritious and tasty food offered each day. The salad bar is a favorite among the students and the staff. Last year we averaged about 150 students who ate the salad bar each day it was offered. When you come have lunch with your child, come on a salad bar day and enjoy one yourself!