In an effort to continually improve the quality of the menus we offer our students, Conway Public Schools is raising the bar on the standards of our school meals. Our focus is on enhancing the diets of students with more nutritious choices here at school, and by providing nutrition education that will help students form healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Federal legislation known as Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 authorizes funding and sets policy for USDA's core child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and other federal food programs. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act allows USDA the opportunity to make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children. This act has established the healthy guidelines that form the basis for good nutrition in schools. We encourage you to follow similar healthy guidelines at home.
Key enhancements include an increase in the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in our meals. We are also reducing in the levels of sodium, saturated fat and eliminating added trans fat in meals. We do not supersize our meals, but instead strive to meet the nutrition needs of students within their age specific calorie requirements.
Start your Day with a Good Breakfast
Higher Test Scores. Research has proven that children who eat breakfast have higher math and reading scores.
Improved Attendance. Studies show that students who eat breakfast are absent and tardy less often.
Fewer Trips to the School Nurse. When students eat breakfast, nurses report fewer hunger-related office visits.
Improved Classroom Behavior. Students are better able to pay attention in class when they have eaten. Principals confirm that they see fewer discipline problems when students have eaten breakfast.
Better Learning. Students learn best on a full stomach.
More Time on Learning. When students have eaten, they are better able to concentrate and behave in the classroom. This allows teachers to spend more time on teaching and less time on discipline.
A nutritious breakfast is available to all students in Conway Schools every school day. Parents are encouraged to take advantage of this meal servcie to insure their children have the proper energy to jump start each school day.
Five Star Meals
Conway Public Schools offers 5-star meals:
- Protein: Meat and alternatives to meat, is a vital source of energy and indispensable nutrient served as one of our main meal components. Protein is important for our immune function, and proteins transport vitamins and minerals throughout our body. We offer age appropriate servings to include at least one ounce daily and 8 to 10 ounces weekly for grades K through 5, and 9 to 10 ounces weekly for grades 6 - 8. Teens require more protein for building and repairing muscles, they will be offered daily amounts of at least 2 ounces and as much as 10 to 12 ounces weekly.
- Fruits and Vegetables: We offer fruits and vegetables daily and students are required to take at least one with every school meal. Any fruits that are frozen or canned fruits are packed in natural juice, water or light syrup whenever possible. We will be offering ¾ - 1 cup of vegetables plus ½ - 1 cup of fruit every day. Students must select at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetables or a combination of the two. Additionally, each week we serve a variety of nutrient packed vegetables which include dark green, red and orange, and starchy vegetables. This also includes beans and peas and other choices of legumes. It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables representing all the colors of the rainbow. Natural foods with bright, rich colors are not just nice to look at they provide powerful benefits to keep you healthy. These foods are packed with powerful compounds called flavonoids and carotenoids that can fight the damaging disease causing free radicals in your body and help to lower inflammation.
- Grains: One of our big focuses toward offering nutritious meals is making sure that at least half of the grains served will be whole grains, with an emphasis our the next couple of years of moving toward a 100% whole grain offering. Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits that include reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. We offer age appropriate servings of grain components in our meals to include at least one ounce daily and 8 to 9 ounces weekly for grades K through 5, and 8 to 10 ounces weekly for grades 6 - 8. Teens in grades 9 - 12 will be offered daily amounts of at least 2 ounces and as much as 10 to 12 ounces weekly.
- Milk: Milk and dairy products are especially important to bone health during school-aged years. It provides important sources of calcium, potassium and vitamin D, and helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and help to lower blood pressure in adults. We will offer at least two choices of milk with our school meals. Unflavored milk may be non-fat or low-fat (no more than 1%), flavored milk must be skim or non-fat, and lactose-reduced or lactose-free can be non-fat or low-fat (no more than 1%).