By Michael Schwanke
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
9:01 PM CDT, April 23, 2012
Wichita’s School Service Center prepares thousands of meals every day. So the slightest change to a menu can be a big deal.
Next year’s change is anything but slight.
“It’s completely changing the way we plan,” says Vicki Hoffman, nutrition services director.
New federal guidelines are shaking up menus. Schools like Wichita that plan menus based on nutrients, will now have to plan based on servings.
“We have the basics, we know the amounts of fruits and vegetables will go up,” says Hoffman.
The new guidelines will focus on calories, fat and sodium.
It will not only require a certain amount of grains, but also put limits on it how much grain can be served.
Bread is a lunchroom staple in most schools because kids like it and it’s affordable.
“It will be a challenge. Fruits and vegetables are not cheap.”
The new regulations will also force students take fruits and vegetables.
“The thought of the USDA, for better or for worse, is if they have to have it on their tray they're more likely to eat it,” says Hoffman.
Monday night, the Wichita school board voted to increase the price parents pay by five cents.
The district has to keep full price meals in line with the amount the government reimburses schools for free meals for low-income students.
The government is increasing its share by six cents to meet the new guidelines, but because of rising food and fuel prices it may not be enough says Hoffman.
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