Thanksgiving is still a week away, but students at Fairfax County Public Schools will sit down to a turkey dinner tomorrow, Thursday. The lunch will include mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans and cranberry sauce. There won't be pumpkin pie, but lunchrooms will serve a frozen pumpkin yogurt cup.
FCPS charges $2.65 to elementary school students for lunch and $2.75 to middle and high school students. Students who qualify for reduced-cost meals pay 40 cents.
Families who earn less than 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals and those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty level qualify for reduced price meals. Approximately 24 percent of the student enrollment at FCPS qualify for free and reduced price meals, according to FCPS. The School Board determines the prices for paid breakfast and lunch and the federal government establishes the price of reduced-price meals.
Real Food for Kids is urging the Fairfax County School Board, FCPS Food & Nutrition Services and Superintendent Jack Dale to serve healthier school food and have asked for these improvements to food served by the schools:
• Increase the quantity of fresh, naturally grown, fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, e.g. providing a salad bar (currently, only 4 FCPS schools currently have salad bars. In the past, every school did).
• Eliminate highly processed food and replace with real food.
• Eliminate flavor enhancers like MSG, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, etc.
• Eliminate trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) or fully hydrogenated oils
• Eliminate artificial additives, dyes, preservatives
• Eliminate high fructose corn syrup and limit other added sugars
• Have cups of water or bottled water available in the lunch room at a free or economical price
• Have organic milk available as an option