Unity School is committed to providing an environment in which students can make healthy food choices that support academic success and lifelong health. This policy is effective during the school day.
The link between nutrition and learning is well documented. Healthy eating patterns are essential for students to achieve their full academic potential, full physical and mental growth, and lifelong health and well-being. Healthy eating increases attention, creativity, and test scores. It improves behavior and attendance. It is demonstrably linked to reduced risk for mortality and development of many chronic diseases as adults. Schools have a responsibility to help students and staff establish and maintain lifelong, healthy eating patterns. Well-planned and well-implemented school nutrition programs have been shown to positively influence students’ eating habits.
Foods and beverages sold or served at school will meet the nutrition recommendations of the:
U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (over 2 years old)
USDA My Plate and the Pyramid Food Guidance System
Dietary Reference Intakes for the National Academy of Sciences
Meals served through the cafeteria will:
Be appealing and attractive
Be served in a clean and pleasant setting
Offer variety and exposure to new and different foods
Offer a variety of choices so children learn to make wise selections
Provide reasonable accommodations medical food restrictions (allergies) among students
Be planned to coordinate classroom curriculums with the menu to enhance nutrition education
Qualifications of School Food Service Staff
A qualified nutrition professional will administer the school meal program. Appropriate training will be provided to kitchen and cafeteria workers according to their level of responsibility. All local, state, and federal regulations shall be met.
Each day lunch is offered in the cafeteria. The lunch choices include an entrée, salad bar, PBJ, PB, cheese sandwich or a veggie burger meal. Lunch includes the appropriate side dishes, dessert and a beverage. The salad bar lunch includes an assortment of lettuces, raw vegetables, a variety of meats, cheese, egg, hot foods, fruit, breads, and other selections on a rotating basis. It may also include soup (if offered), dessert and a beverage. Pizza day is every Wednesday. Menus are planned so that they are not only child friendly, but also are nutritionally balanced. A variety of menu options will be offered throughout the year to encourage exposure to new foods and foods from other cultures. Suggestions are always welcome.
A healthy snack is prepared and served each morning to preschool students.
White milk or plain water are the only beverages permitted for lunch or snack at Unity School. A choice of one of these beverages is offered with each purchased meal. Juice, flavored waters, soda, and caffeinated beverages are NOT permitted. Those who would like an additional beverage with lunch or those who bring lunch from home can purchase a beverage. A super-size meal (which is a larger sized entrée) is also available for an extra fee. Lunches are billed on a monthly basis.
Food and Beverages Brought in From Home-Bagged Lunches and Snacks
Bag lunches and snacks should make a positive contribution to the student’s diet and health. Lunches brought in from home should model the My Plate and the Food Pyramid Guidelines and be healthy and nutritious. It is suggested that snacks be planned to include foods from at least 2-3 food groups to keep energy levels high and the mind alert. Snack foods should be nutrient dense, which means that each bite contributes to the child’s overall intake of healthy foods. Water and white milk are the only beverages permitted for lunch or snack at Unity School. Juice, soda, caffeinated, and other flavored beverages are prohibited. Candy is prohibited .Chocolate as a main ingredient is prohibited unless it meets the Food and Beverage –Nutrient Standards and Guidelines.
Meal Times and Scheduling
Provide students with at least 20 minutes to eat lunch
Meal periods are scheduled at appropriate times
Elementary students are scheduled recess times
Provide hand sanitizing before meals
Sharing of Food and Beverages
Students may not share their foods and beverages with one another during meals or snack time, given concerns about allergies, sharing of pathogenic illnesses, and other restrictions with some children’s diets.
Birthday celebrations are honored without the service of food. Children will not be disappointed if typical party foods aren’t served in the classroom. Treats and traditional birthday cake will still be available at home.
Classrooms must limit celebrations that involve food during the school day to not more than one (1) per month. Treats distributed to children must meet the Food and Beverage-Nutrient Standards and Guidelines.
Food and beverages should not be used as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not be withheld as a punishment.
Foods and Beverages Sold Individually
Foods sold in vending machines adhere to the Food and Beverage-Nutrient Standards and Guidelines. Water is the only beverage to be sold.
Food and Beverage- Nutrient Standards and Guidelines
Treats should be planned using the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
Food of minimal nutritional value should not be given away, sold, or used as incentives for students or student activities during the school day except for peppermint, which has been documented to enhance memory.
A packaged snack should be less than 250 calories.
No more than 30% of total calories from fat, and no more than 10% of total calories from saturated fat and no trans fat. (Nuts, seeds, milk, and dairy products are exempt from this standard.)
No more than 35% added sugar by weight (not including fruits and vegetables and when they are when used as ingredients).
The threshold for Sodium is 400-600mg per serving.
Encourage food containing whole grains.
Chocolate is not permitted to be the main ingredient; carob is an acceptable substitute.
Snacks and sweets not to exceed 1.5 oz.
Cookies, muffins, and cereal bars not to exceed 3 oz.
Frozen desserts, ice cream not to exceed 4oz. No sweetened water ices such as “…sicles” unless products contain 100% fruit or fruit juice.
No chewing gum.
No red and blue dye in any products.
Water and white milk are the only permitted beverages.
Food Intake patterns identify what and how much food an individual should eat for health. The amounts are based on a person’s age, sex and activity level. These patterns are published in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- • Increase whole grains in the diet. Make at least half of the total grains eaten whole grains.
- • Eat recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits. Add variety. Increase dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, soybeans and peas.
- • Consume 3 cups milk or equivalent each day. Children 2-8 years old consume 2 cups. Supply calcium rich foods such as cheese if milk in not consumed.
- • Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Choose grain products and prepared foods that are low in saturated and no trans fat. Select baked, broiled or steamed rather than fried.
- • Choose foods with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners. Added sugars include high fructose corn syrup, other syrups, sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose, brown sugar, honey, molasses fruit juice concentrates, and raw sugar added to food products. Choose water or milk. Select unsweetened cereals.
- • Eat a healthy breakfast. Choose foods that consist of carbohydrates, protein, and low fat, such as whole-grain cereal, fruit, and milk.
- • Snacks should also include a variety of foods from each of the food groups as indicated above. Refer to healthy snack guide.
All fluid milk-preferably fat free or low fat
Nutritionally equivalent non-dairy alternatives, soy products
Puddings made with milk
Cheese-cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, American, cottage, etc.
Yogurt-without added food dyes and candy
Fruit- fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. It can be whole, cup-up or pureed.
Apricots Melons-cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
Bananas Mixed fruit salad
Berries-strawberries, blueberries Nectarines, oranges, tangerines
raspberries, cherries Pears
Vegetables-raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or juiced.
Dark Green Orange Starchy
Broccoli Carrots Corn
Collard Squash-acorn, butternut, hubbard, pumpkin Green peas
Kale Sweet potatoes Lima beans
Romaine lettuce Potatoes
Dry Beans and Peas Other Vegetables
Black beans Artichokes Lettuce-iceburg, leaf
Garbanzo beans Asparagus Mushrooms
Kidneys beans Bean Sprouts Okra
Lentils Brussel sprouts Onions
Navy beans Cabbage Parsnips
Pinto beans Cauliflower Tomatoes-tomato juice
Soybeans Eggplant Turnips
Tofu Green beans Wax beans
White beans Peppers Zucchini
Grains– whole and refined
Whole-contains the entire kernel, the bran, germ and endosperm
Brown rice Muesli
Buckwheat Whole grain-wheat, barley, rye: breads, crackers, pasta, tortillas
Bulgur(cracked wheat) Wild Rice
Refined– milled removing the bran and germ. Most refined grains are enriched with B vitamins and iron.
Cornbread Ready to eat breakfast cereals
Couscous Tortillas-flour and corn
Crackers White bread and rolls
Grits White rice
Meat & Beans
Choices should be lean or low-fat.
Meat-beef, ham, lamb, pork, veal
Poultry-chicken, duck, goose, turkey
Soy-based protein sources
Dry Beans and peas-black bean, chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soy beans, split peas, tofu, white beans, tempeh, textures vegetable protein
Fish-anchovies, catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, pollock, salmon, sea bass, sardines, snapper, swordfish, trout, tuna
Shellfish-clams, crab, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, squid, shrimp
Nuts-almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Oils– fats that are liquid at room temperature from plants and fish.
Plants-monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, and low in saturated fats. Do not contain any cholesterol*
Olive Some fish
*Coconut and palm kernel oil are high in saturated fat
Solid fat-solid at room temperature from animal foods and are saturated fats.
Pork fat (lard)
Trans fat-hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used to make shortening and commercially prepared baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, and margarine. Trans fat should be eliminated from the diet.
Discretionary Calories-the extra calories that are not needed to meet the body’s nutrient needs, about 10% of the daily calorie requirements. These can come from sweets and other treats.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE- NUTRIENT STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
Each snack food portion may not exceed the below limitations for specified nutrients/ingredients or serving sizes:
NO MORE THAN 250 CALORIES
TOTAL CALORIES FROM FAT
NO MORE THAN 30%
Excludes nuts and seeds
TOTAL CALORIES FROM SATURATED FAT (INCLUDING TRANS FATS)
NO MORE THAN 10%
ADDED SUGAR BY WEIGHT
NO MORE THAN 35%
Excludes fruits and vegetables when used as ingredients
NO MORE THAN 600 MILLIGRAMS PER SERVING
PORTION SIZES FOR CLASSROOM SNACK AND VENDING FOODS
TYPE OF FOOD ITEM
MAXIMUM PORTION SIZE
Snacks and Sweets
Including, but not limited to chips, crackers, low-fat popcorn, cereal, trail mix, seeds, dried fruit, jerky
Bakery Items (e.g. cookies, bars, breads, and muffins)
Chocolate may not be a
main ingredient. Fruits and vegetable ingredients are encouraged. No doughnuts.
Icing may not exceed ¼” thickness.
Frozen Desserts, Ice Cream
4.0 fluid oz.
Including but not limited to ice cream. No chocolate or candy.
No …sicles (sweetened water ices)
No candy, except for peppermint for teaching purposes.
No red and blue food dye
PARTY FOOD SUGGESTIONS
Items Not Permitted Healthy Alternative
Iced cupcake Fruit/vegetable muffins-apple, banana, carrot, berry, etc.
Large cookie with icing Whole grain cookie with dried fruit
Birthday cake Vanilla pudding cups with berries and sugar cookie crumbs
Donut Oatmeal raisin cookie
Brownie Fruit and cheese kebabs with whole-wheat pretzels
Foods containing color dye Granola, fruit, and vanilla yogurt sundaes
(red and blue) Raisin cake with drizzled vanilla glaze
Banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread or bars
Candy Trail mix with low fat granola, whole-wheat cereal, unsalted
pretzels, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, and dried fruit
Angel food cake with fresh berries
Low fat granola bars
Low fat popcorn seasoned with grated cheese and a
dash of garlic salt or other interesting spice combo
Top your own cookie Rice cake with light cream cheese topped with fruit,
shredded vegetables, seeds, carob, granola, popcorn, and
other healthy choices.
Veggie or fresh fruit pizza
Fruit drinks Water, low fat/fat free milk, or soymilk
PURCHASE READY FOODS
The list below are a few items that are available for purchase that meet the Nutrition Standards and may be used for convenience. These are not the only food items that meet the Standards and are only meant to be used as a guide.
Mini Muffins (25 gram/each)- carrot, poppy, orange, bran, zucchini, and vanilla (without large quantity of icing)
Muffin (2.5 oz)- blueberry, apple bran, or raisin bran
Angel Food Cake (1/8 cake)
Cornbread (1.9 oz/serving)
Tortilla Wraps (45 gram or less/serving)-whole wheat, multigrain, tomato basil, spinach, or garden vegetable
Mini bagels 1.4oz/serving- Pepperidge Farms, Publix, or Thomas
Entenmann’s light Golden Loaf Cake (fat free)
Entenmann’s Mini Muffins-blueberry
Pita Pockets (whole wheat)-small (23 gram/each) and mini (10 gram/each)
Whole Wheat Bread Sticks (15 grams/each)
Light Out Wraps- assorted flavors
Baked Tortilla Chips
Pretzels-whole wheat or grain preferred
Exotic Vegetable Chips
Sweet Potato and Beet Chips
Terra Vegetable Chips
Eat Smart Soy Crisps
Polaner-All Fruit Spread (1T/serving)
Fruit-individual packaged cups of fruit in natural juice-Delmonte, Publix
Prepackaged Raw Vegetables and Fresh Fruits
Cheese & Fruit Tray
Roasted Soy Beans and other seeds
Nuts (if not allergic)
Natural fruit leathers
Oatmeal Teddy Grahams
Whole Wheat Fig Newtons
Ginger Snaps made with molasses-Nabisco only
Fat Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie-Archway
Whole grain Fish Crackers-Pepperidge Farm
Oven Baked Wheat able Crackers-Keebler
Cherry or Raspberry Fruit Bars-Health Valley
Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge
Light Babybel Cheese Rounds
Assorted packaged cheese-string, cubes, slices, shaped, etc.
Light Cheese Spread-Alouette, Laukauna, Neufchatel
Light Cream Cheese-assorted flavors
Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls-Pillsbury
Low Fat Bread Sticks-Pillsbury
Low Fat Plain or Vanilla Yogurt
Pudding Cups made with skim milk
Soymilk, Low fat and Skim milk
Muffin Bar-banana or blueberry-Quaker