Now more than ever, Americans are focusing more on nutrition. Many food service establishments are offering a wider variety of healthier options – including gluten-free, dairy-free, all natural, vegan and vegetarian.
The focus on more nutritious foods certainly has caught on in schools, as well. In February 2013, a proposed rule was presented to require the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in school. These school nutrition standards will go beyond the current Federal child nutrition programs for schools.
Starting July 1, 2014, the new standards will go into effect at schools nationwide. The law specifies that the standards apply to all foods sold at schools, any time of the day. This includes a la carte items in the cafeteria, snack bars, and vending machines.
General Standards for Food
To be allowable, a food item must:
- Be a whole grain rich product, or
- Have a fruit, vegetable, dairy, or protein food be the first ingredient, or
- Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable or
- Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of a nutrient of public health concern (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)
For more details, read the full school nutrition standards from the USDA.
Products For School Nutrition
To help keep school foods healthier, why not try some new equipment? Central carries many options to allow users to easily prepare the healthiest meals!
- Blenders and food processors can be a great way to change things up in your cafeteria. They can be used to make soups, sauces, nut butters, and delicious healthy smoothies! You can also save money by using unused produce in one of these items to create new recipes.
- Combi ovens are a great option for schools. They have three functions – convection, steam, and combination cooking. These ovens provide a versatile and healthy way to prepare a variety of foods. Use a combi to cook rice, vegetables, fish, and much more. Combi ovens help to reduce shrinkage, which can help to preserve your food product. If different dishes are prepared at the same time, each retain its flavor, vitamins and nutritional value.
- Tilting skillets are another versatile piece of equipment. They have a large capacity and can be used to grill, simmer, braise, and more. The tilt design allows for convenient transfer of food to serving pans.
Whatever your school needs, Central is here to help! Call us at 1-800-215-9293 or shop online today!