Task force shows Summit Schools are coming up short in nutrition
FRISCO – A task force charged with investigating the healthiness of food served by the Summit School District has found that while healthy meals are offered, the à la carte options and soda and candy machines undermine the healthy meals served in cafeterias.
The task force, comprised of teachers, parents and administrators, was charged by the school board and Superintendent Wes Smith to look into school nutrition. It was.
“Our concern is that soda may be replacing food in some kids’ diets,” said task force leader Peggy Kastberg, a central office administrator.
In a study presented to the school board, the task force team said school meals should meet the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as provide healthy foods and foods cooked in healthy ways.
The task force also recommended school cafeterias offer only healthy food choices from the five major food groups of the food pyramid.
Additionally, food service staff should use food preparation techniques that lower the saturated fat, sodium and sugar in foods served at schools.
Goals would be set for the amounts of fat, saturated fat and sodium. Fat would be less than 30 percent of the meal with the goal being between 20-30 percent and saturated fat being less than 10 percent. The sodium level would be kept under 800 milligrams.
The task force recommended the amount of calcium, fruits and vegetables be increased.
“Flash-fried” chicken and fried French fries would be eliminated. Potato bars, salad bars, sandwich bars and burrito bars would be offered. Canola oil would replace commodity oil, and yogurt would be added to offerings.
For the elementary school and middle school levels, the task force recommends that all soda be removed and that 100 percent fruit juice and water replace the soda.
The high school would see the same changes, but caffeine-free and diet soda would be the only soda offered.
Snack vending machines would also see an overhaul as candy and chips would be removed and replaced by healthy snacks such as pretzels, energy bars and granola bars.
The task force highly recommends food rewards be eliminated entirely.
The task force determined the district needs to step up its nutrition education program.
This would involve both the students and parents receiving more information about nutrition through the media and health classes taught regularly throughout students’ school careers.
The task force also outlined a physical education plan.
According to the task force’s research, students in elementary school should have physical education class for at least 150 minutes a week, which would break down to 30 minutes a day. High school and middle school students should partake in physical education for at least 225 minutes a week, or about 45 minutes a day.
Currently, Summit High School students are only required to take three physical education classes during high school. The task force also recommended the board review the nutrition education policy.
The task force recommended a “module matrix” system to be taught grade level by grade level throughout elementary school. Under the proposed guidelines, middle school students would have health class one day a week throughout the school year, and nutrition would be a one-semester class taught in seventh grade. High school students would be taught a health curriculum only in ninth grade, and a four-week nutrition course would be taught within the semester of health.
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