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The USDA wants to ensure that the districts are complying with new federal nutrition standards. The schools need to be examining calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, Lukkonen said.
Earlier this week, the Anoka-Hennepin district served its most popular meal at its middle schools: popcorn chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy with herbed carrot slices. Students can be served an unlimited amount of fruits and vegetables, said Duenow. But healthy guidelines dictate the size of snack portions, the amount of grainy foods served per meal, even the color of vegetable.
Duenow said it took her five days to complete the federal survey. Every food item had to be entered into a multi-tabbed spreadsheet. When a rule stated that a child needed eight to nine “breads” per week, that could mean grains and foods such as pasta, crackers, pizza crust and hamburger buns, Duenow said.
“This has been a learning year for all of us,” Duenow said. “The state has been good about saying what needs to be fixed for next year.”
The process, she said, was not that hard to digest.
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419