CAFETERIA SCORECARDS

The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program were created to reduce hunger and improve health.  The Federal and State agencies implemented the programs in order to encourage these goals.  They do this by offering cash incentives to school systems for implementing these programs and adhering to stringent guidelines which will ensure that nutritious and healthy meals are provided.  Meals are priced based on family income. The upside is that more and more school systems are taking advantage of these cash incentives which are ultimately beneficial to the health of our children.  

See if the school system in your community participates.  However, keep in mind that not all of them are created equally.  You can evaluate their effectiveness by completing a variety of self-assessment scorecards, such as the Governor's Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard from Virginia: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/healthyva_scorecard.pdf  

Note: The primary focus of the above questionnaire centers on the caloric and fat content of food.  We will further explore menus and snacks to determine the quality as it pertains to food additives, preservatives and other chemicals, and report back to you in the near future.     

It was interesting to note that the scorecard included a question on whether or not the menus are posted online.  If your school does not provide this information, they should be encouraged to do so.

There's also the Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition (B.E.N.) Center's Self-Assessment Score Card: http://smarterlunchrooms.org/sites/default/files/lunchroom_self-assessmt_score_card.final_.4-3-14.pdf

Smarter Lunchrooms is endorsed by the USDA: http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2014/003714