School Meals FAQs

Where can I find the school lunch menu?

Child Nutrition Services has “gone green” and no longer prints copies of the menu for every school each month. The menu is available on the school division’s web site at the top under Families > Lunch Menus or click here.

What is this in the news about new lunch regulations?

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act was passed in 2011 to update meal patterns and nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and to align them with the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This will increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat free milk while reducing the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in meals. These improvements are expected to improve the diet and health of school children and lessen the childhood obesity trend.

What are the new meal pattern requirements?

Each day, we offer a balanced meal with at least 5 components – a meat/meat alternate, fruit, vegetable, grain, and milk. Under the new regulations, students must choose a fruit or vegetable with their lunch. Students in grades 1-12 may decline 2 of the 5 components.

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Every student is assigned a student meal account.

  1. My School Bucks is an option for funding your student’s meal account.   You can fund the account online for a small service fee.  Visit www.mySchoolBucks.com or call Child Nutrition Services at 565-3838 for instructions.
  2. You can write a check to your student’s cafeteria (please include your student’s meal account number on the check).
  3. Your student can pay with cash and ask that the extra be applied to his or her meal account.
  4. You may pay with a check or cash at the cafeteria during normal operating hours.

How can I find out about the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program?

Your student may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Visit your school’s main office or call Child Nutrition Services at 565-3838 for more information. Free and Reduced Price Lunch information and applications are available in both English and Spanish.

My child is a vegetarian. Can she participate in the school meal program?

Yes!

My child has food allergies. Can he participate in the school meal program?

Yes!   If your student requires meal substitutions because of a disability, our schools will make substitutions prescribed by a physician. Our elementary and middle schools offer gluten free menus for students with properly diagnosed and documented needs. We can also accommodate other physician prescribed modified diets. Please contact your school nurse or the Child Nutrition Services Nutrition Specialist Pam Dannon, RD at 259-7186 for further information.

My child is lactose intolerant. What are her beverage options?

Your child may choose 100% fruit juice as part of her meal or she may purchase bottled water. With a parent’s or doctor’s written request, your child may choose lactose free Dairy Ease milk in place of regular fluid milk. Students without documentation may purchase Dairy Ease. Free tap water from the fountain or coolers is also provided by the cafeteria.

I heard the schools have great salads. What kind do you have?

Each week, there are a variety of freshly prepared entrée salads. We offer Chef Salads, Asian Chicken Salads, Taco Salads, Chicken Strip Salads, and Chicken Caesar Salads. Each entrée salad meal includes a bread or grain (such as saltines or the bread of the day) and a milk. At some schools, due to cold holding limitations, your student may have to ask the server for the salad if it is not on display on the serving line. Just ask!

Are there salad bars in the schools?

Salad bars were offered at all three high schools starting in March 2009, thanks to a generous grant from the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. The salad bars offer a wide variety of fresh ingredients, to include locally grown produce. The salad bars are self serve and monitored by a Child Nutrition Services staff member. To-go packaging is also available. The student salad bar meal meets the USDA meal pattern and is available to all free and reduced priced lunch customers at their usual lunch price. Each Thursday is Taco Salad day in the high schools. Watch for special salad bar promotions such as Frequent Shopper Cards and Free Soup with Salad deals.

What are the Yogurt Combos?

Students may choose a healthy meal of low fat yogurt/cheese stick/graham crackers or yogurt/cheese sandwich along with fruits or veggies, and milk. This has been a very popular option for elementary school students.

Why do some of the entrees sound like fast food choices?

The good news is those classic entrees are all specially chosen and specially prepared for our students. For example, the hot dogs are turkey dogs, the taco salads are made with fajita chicken strips or ground turkey meat, and the grilled cheese is reduced fat cheese on whole wheat bread. Preparation is modified too. Unlike most fast foods, we bake our entrees in convection ovens. Participation is key to the success of the school lunch program. We are able to serve foods that kids like, but that are also healthy.

Why do we serve French fries?

More good news – all of our potato “fries” are actually oven baked. Potatoes are a favorite vegetable choice for many of our students. A grant from the Williamsburg Community Healthy Foundation allowed us to put state of the art convection ovens in all our schools. We even have tasty sweet potato “fries”, rich in fiber and Vitamin A.

What is a Dutch Waffle?

Our new Dutch Waffle replaces the former very popular Funnel Cake as a healthier option. They are trans fat free and have 9 grams of protein. They have less sugar than a muffin & cereal breakfast. Dutch Waffles are offered once a week as an occasional treat. Dutch Waffles are baked not fried and they meet the requirements of both USDA and our local Wellness Policy. We have our best participation rates on Dutch Waffle day!

What are the a la carte or snack options?

Students may purchase entrees a la carte if they would like, as well as healthy snacks. All snacks meet WJCC Student Wellness Policy nutrition standards. Snacks include baked chips, reduced fat products, 100% juices, and more.

How can I control the food choices my child makes at school?

You can call the Child Nutrition Services office at 565-3838 or email jane.haley@wjccschools.org and request that a note be put on your child’s lunch account to limit the number of snacks or certain items that may be purchased with lunch account funds.

Why do we have pizza day?

There is a certain comfort that children find in predictability. Just like families might have certain days where they have certain customs, students can count on one of their favorite foods being offered every Thursday in their school. We rotate between our school’s Smart Pizza, which is reduced fat and whole grain and Domino’s pizza, also available with a whole grain crust. We have great participation on these days, and students are guaranteed a healthy lunch when they come to school.

It seems like the portions are small in a school lunch. Why is that?

Americans suffer from portion distortion. We are used to eating too much, too many, too often. The National School Lunch Program specifies portions that are in line with the Dietary Guidelines (see www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp) and Choose My Plate (see www.choosemyplate.gov). Children are actually receiving a valuable lesson in portion control when they participate in the school lunch program.

Why are some seemingly unhealthy foods offered?

Most of our foods are, in fact, healthy due to manufacturing and preparation modifications. We want students, staff and families to look at the whole meal when evaluating the healthfulness of school food. Taking an entrée with the fruit, vegetable, grain or bread, and milk components of a school lunch or breakfast, creates a balanced, healthy meal. Over the course of a week, our menus meet nutrition standards for trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and calories. We are trying to teach children that all foods can fit in a healthy, balanced diet. That balance is a key to a healthy diet. In moderation, another key to a healthy diet, you can eat all foods that you enjoy.

Why do elementary schools have chicken nuggets every Monday?

Cafeteria teams are not present on Sundays to prepare food for the next day, so we offer a menu item that requires less preparation. Also, we rotate between breaded baked nuggets, unbreaded flavored nuggets, and mini turkey corndog nuggets. Variety is another key to a healthy diet.

Do school menus have foods with trans fats?

This is another provision of the new USDA regulations. Major sources of trans fat have been identified and eliminated from breakfast and lunch choices.

What is different about the menu due to the WJCC Student Wellness Policy?

Menu updates continue as we explore new products and respond to our student customer requests. We offer a fresh fruit or salad or vegetable as a side dish in every school, every day. We offer a wide variety of fresh side salads. We offer a variety of fresh entrée salads every day. We offer only non or low fat milk. Many products are prepared with reduced fat cheeses. Most grains, breads, rice and pasta are whole grain. The school division is fortunate to have SHIP, the School Health Initiative Program, to assist with making and marketing these healthy changes.

What is different about vending machines in WJCC schools due to the WJCC Student Wellness Policy?

Snacks in student machines meet the Wellness Policy Nutrition Standards of less than 300 calories per item, and 35% or fewer calories from fat, 10% or fewer calories from saturated fat, and 35% or less of its weight from sugar. Beverages in student machines have standards to meet as well. Juices must be 100% juice, milk must be non fat or low fat, sport drinks must meet USDA guidelines and have certain vitamins, traditional “sodas” may not be sold although carbonated juices or waters may be vended, and beverages should not contain caffeine.

I saw vending machines in the high schools. Are they healthy?

Thanks to a generous grant from the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation, the three high schools have model vending programs. Stocked by Child Nutrition Services and located near the cafeteria, the machines are refrigerated and offer healthy snacks and meal items. They include milk, yogurt, wraps, sandwiches, and ice cold water. The machines are available to students before school, in case they missed breakfast, during lunch when they need to grab a meal and run to a class for makeup work, as well as after school when they need a healthy snack before sports practice or while waiting for the bus. In fall 2012, some machines will be connected to student lunch accounts so that students may purchase meals and snacks by entering their student lunch code.

Do the schools serve breakfast?

Yes, all schools serve a hot breakfast! The menu is available in the top left corner of the lunch menu. In addition to hot meals, your student may choose from cereal, baked goods, yogurt, fresh fruit & more. If your student may be eligible for a free or reduced price breakfast, please contact your school’s main office or the Child Nutrition Office at 565-3838.

Where can I get more information about nutrition?

You can go to the WJCC Public Schools website. At the Parents tab at the top, click on Lunch Menus and then you will see the School Nutrition Resources link at the far left. There you will find websites, handouts, and more. You can also go to the School Health Initiative Program (SHIP) webpage on the school division website. At the Resources tab at the left, there are Nutrition, Physical Activity, General, and Community Resources.