Tag Archives: school lunch program

Summer School Lunch Programs: Serving Year-Round Nutrition

Summer is just around the corner, and that means most schools will be finished with their cafeteria duties until fall. But many schools throughout the country participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SFSP was created to help low-income children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  All children 18 years old and younger are eligible to receive free meals through the summer lunch programs at approved SFSP sites in areas where there is a significant concentration of low-income children.

Summer lunch program background

The SFSP started in 1968 as an amendment to the National School Lunch Act. In 1975, it became a separate program. Currently, the SFSP is the largest federal resource for local sponsors to combine children’s nutrition programs with summer activity programs.  The SFSP is administered by Food and Nutrition Service, which is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. In the summer of 2012, about 39,000 sites provided meals to more than 2.28 million children.  In 2012, Congress spent $398 million on the SFSP programs across the country.

Why have summer lunch programs?

When school is out, only 1 out of 7 children who receive free or reduced lunches during the regular school year will continue to receive meals during the summer months. Good nutrition is essential for children’s physical and social development. Schools, local governments, camps, non-profit universities, and private non-profit organizations can sponsor SFSP programs. Resources for those interested can be found at the Food and Nutrition Service website. These resources includes a Summer Meals ToolkitFAQs for sponsors, and tips on how to raise awareness. As a part of this program, sites will be reimbursed, based on the number of meals served.

A sponsor site has the option to prepare its own meals, purchase meals through another school, or contract meals from a food service management company.  For sites that have their own kitchen and are able to prepare their own meals for the summer lunch program, a higher rate of reimbursement is given for “self-prep” rates.

Central’s school cafeteria products

School trays, Summer Lunch Programs

Central carries everything you need for your school cafeteria.

Whether your school is preparing for a summer lunch program, or getting ready for the upcoming school year, Central has you covered. If you need equipment – check out our selection of refrigeration, cooking, and food prep. We also carry supplies such as food trays and pans, as well as school furniture for your seating needs. If you’re not sure where to start, we have a school product buying guide. We also have expert solutions online, and many manufacturers offer extended warranties to schools. Shop online or call 800-215-9293 to speak to a product consultant!

National School Breakfast Week starts March 8

School Breakfast - Ready, Set, Go!

Source: schoolnutrition.org

The 22nd annual National School Breakfast Week will be March 8-12, 2010.   Sponsored in part by the School Nutrition Association, the program helps to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children by celebrating a fun theme. For 2010, the theme is “School Breakfast…Ready, Set, Go!”

The SNA offers a variety of free tools and resources that school foodservice staff can use and distribute to communicate the importance of eating a healthy, balanced breakfast. The free materials teach students that eating a school breakfast makes them ready for a day of learning and achievement, and meets dietary guidelines.

Other free resources from the SNA include Menu Ideas, Activity Sheets, Downloadable Presentations and more.

Celebrate National School Breakfast Week at your school by trying a few new breakfast options:

Fresh Fruit Bowls: Use fruit choppers/wedgers to quickly prep apples, melons, citrus and more for a bright, healthy menu choice.

Bran or Whole Wheat Baked Goods: Add in some seasonal fresh fruit for increased flavor, color and nutritional value.  Try different formats for the finished product, such as muffins, breads or cakes.

Flavored Milks: In addition to the standard varieties of white milk, offer your students options like strawberry-, chocolate- or banana-flavored milks.  The additional options may appeal to students that “don’t like milk.”  Use a milk cooler that can hold milk crates–you won’t have to spend time sorting the different varieties you offer.

Scrambled Egg Whites: A healthier option than traditional scrambled eggs, you can add extra flavor and color by throwing in some shredded cheese, diced vegetables or cooked meats.  Quickly make up a large batch using a tilt skillet.

French Toast Sticks: Serving full slices of French toast can easily result in students eating more than recommended serving sizes, or large amounts of uneaten foods that get thrown away.  Before cooking, cut full slices of bread into 3 equal parts to easily control proper serving sizes and reduce food waste.  Use syrup dispensers to let students serve their own syrup to save your foodservice staff time.

Have any breakfast ideas you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear them!