School Nutrition Resources

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are published jointly every 5 years by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The Guidelines help all individuals ages 2 years and older and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet.  They are used in developing Federal food, nutrition, and health policies and programs.

Find out more at:

My Plate is USDA’s food guidance system, replacing My Pyramid and the Food Guide Pyramid.  My Plate illustrates the 5 food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet.  Select messages include balancing calories, foods to increase, and foods to reduce.  Food group tips include:

  • Vary your veggies
  • Focus on fruits
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains
  • Go lean with protein
  • Get your calcium-rich dairy foods

Visit for tools, tips, and more to help you choose a healthy plate.

WJCC Wellness Policies and Procedures

Student Meals Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about SHIP?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:11:33-05:00

The School Health Initiative Program (SHIP) promotes healthy eating and physical activity in our schools. One of SHIP’s major programs is its partnership with Child Nutrition Services.

Where can I get more information about nutrition and healthy eating?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:14:55-05:00

Visit the School Nutrition Resources page for more information about nutrition and healthy eating.

I saw vending machines in the high schools. Are they healthy?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:09:42-05:00

Thanks to a generous grant from the Williamsburg 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.

How can I control the food choices my child makes at school?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:09:23-05:00

You can call the Child Nutrition Services office at 565-3838 or email to 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.

What are the “a la carte” options?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:07:26-05:00

Students may purchase meal items “a la carte” if they would like, as well as healthy snacks. Some students choose to purchase extra portions of entrees, some choose milk or items like fresh fruit to complement their lunch packed from home, and some choose snacks to save for after school activities, such as sports practice. All snacks meet federal Smart Snacks in Schools rules and WJCC Student Wellness Policy nutrition standards. These standards limit portion size, calorie, sugar, fat and sodium content. Snacks include baked chips, reduced fat products, 100% juices, and more.

My child has lactose intolerance. What are her beverage options?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:05:35-05:00

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

My child has food allergies. Can he participate in the school meal program?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:06:41-05:00

Yes! If your student requires meal substitutions because of a disability, our schools will make substitutions prescribed by a licensed physician. Our schools offer gluten free menu options for students with properly diagnosed and documented needs. We can also accommodate other physician prescribed modified diets. Please contact your school nurse for further information.

My child is a vegetarian. Can she participate in the school meal program?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:04:54-05:00

Yes! We offer several vegetarian options, including many side dishes. We offer a Meatless Monday choice and a new “7 Layer Dip Salad” and are always developing new recipes.

Do school menus have foods with trans-fats?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:03:03-05:00

No, this is another provision of the USDA regulations. Major sources of trans-fat have been identified and eliminated from breakfast and lunch choices.

Does the Wellness Policy control what I pack for my student in his lunch box or for his snack?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:02:42-05:00

No, that is up to you as a parent. You can find healthy lunch and snack ideas at the SHIP website.

May we still have classroom parties and celebrations?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:02:15-05:00

Yes! We can still celebrate and show students that it can be done either without food, with nonfood treats and gifts, or with healthy Wellness Policy compliant snacks. For your convenience, healthy and compliant snacks may be ordered from your school cafeteria. There are also healthy celebration resources on the SHIP website.

Tell me about Wellness Policy updates?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:01:56-05:00

The updated policy sets division wide standards for the types of snacks served in all cafes, classrooms, student stores and meetings, and for fundraisers and parties or celebrations throughout all schools. Every occasion anywhere on the school campus during the school day offers the same healthy food and beverage opportunity. These division wide standards are based on Federal “Smart Snacks in Schools” regulations.

What is the school division’s Student Wellness Policy?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:01:36-05:00
What is the “Smart Snacks in Schools” rule?WJCC Schools2021-01-06T09:41:05-05:00

Federal regulations now govern food and beverage snacks that may be sold in school cafes, vending machines, school stores, snack bars and as fundraisers during the school day.

What are “professional standards for nutrition programs personnel”?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T11:00:16-05:00

The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act included detailed standards for professional development and training of the dedicated workers in the growing field of school nutrition. These went into effect July 1, 2015. Areas of expertise include nutrition, operations, administration and communication/marketing to ensure they have thorough, up to date training.

What are the lunch meal pattern requirements?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:59:57-05:00

Each day, we offer a balanced meal with at least five components – a meat/meat alternate, fruit, vegetables, grain, and milk. Under the new regulations, students must choose a fruit or vegetable with their lunch for a complete meal. A complete meal is available at the meal price and is the best deal. Students in grades 1-12 may decline two of the five offered components.

Did anything change in the rules for breakfast?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:59:37-05:00

Yes – students are offered a breakfast meal consisting of whole grains, a full cup of fruit and milk. Protein is now optional. According to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, students must choose a fruit at breakfast for a complete meal.

What are the nutrition standards for school meals?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:59:18-05:00

We monitor our menus for calories, saturated fat, and sodium. The macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat, are controlled by the meal pattern which specifies meat/meat alternate, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fluid nonfat or lowfat milk.

What is this in the news about school meal regulations?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:58:57-05:00

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 2015-2020 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 latest improvements in school food?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:58:39-05:00

Locally, our menus include more “made from scratch” or “speed scratch” entrees. We are constantly working on recipe modifications and recipe development to improve school food. Our focus is also on the 3 P’s: production, preparation and presentation. Our staff and student customers have restaurant quality expectations which we aim to meet or exceed.

How can I find out about the Free and Reduced Price Meal Program?WJCC Schools2020-08-20T13:29:06-04:00

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 meal information and applications are available in both paper and online formats in both English and Spanish.

How can I pay for my student’s meals?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:54:18-05:00
Every student is assigned a student meal account.
  1. “My School Bucks” is an online option for funding your student’s meal account.  You can fund the account online for a small service fee. Visit or call Child Nutrition Services at 565-3838 for instructions.
  2. You may write a check to your student’s cafeteria (please include your student’s meal account number on the check).
  3. Your student may 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 much are drinks and snacks?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:53:21-05:00

Price lists are clearly posted in each school cafeteria.

Some of the food seems expensive, is it?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:52:36-05:00

Meal prices are the best deal. A school breakfast meal consists of grains, two fruits, and milk for just $1.35 (elementary) and a school lunch meal consists of meat/meat alternate, grains, fruit, two vegetables and milk for just $2.70 (elementary). Bottled drinks and snacks are offered at a la carte pricing.

Did I see ice cream for sale?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:44:08-05:00

No, our frozen desserts are a popular brand, but they are modified for schools. Portion sizes are small. The milk is non fat, low fat or reduced fat milk, not cream. Some are made from juice or yogurt. All items meet “Smart Snacks in Schools” regulations.

Why do some of the entrees sound like fast food choices?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:43:50-05:00

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, all grains are whole grains, and the grilled cheese sandwich is reduced fat cheese on whole grain bread. Preparation is modified too. Unlike many 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.

What are the Yogurt Combos?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:43:32-05:00

Students may choose a healthy meal of low fat yogurt combos along with one fruit and two veggies and milk. This has been a very popular option for elementary school students.

Do school foods contain additives and preservatives?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:43:14-05:00

Yes, we serve thousands of meals a day and need food that is safe. Take a look at the resource “Do You Have Questions about Food Safety?” on the School Nutrition Resources page.

Are there salad bars in the schools?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:42:17-05:00

Salad bars were offered at all three high schools starting in March 2009, thanks to a generous grant from the Williamsburg 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, reduced and paid lunch customers at their usual lunch meal 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.

I heard the schools have great salads. What kind do you have?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:41:55-05:00

Each week, there are a variety of freshly prepared entrée salads in the elementary and middle schools. We offer Chef, Asian Chicken, Taco, Chicken Strip, Southwest Chicken, and Strawberry Spinach Chicken entrée salads. Each entrée salad meal includes bread or grain (such as whole grain crackers or the bread of the day) and 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!

Why are there so many different vegetables and side salads offered?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:41:36-05:00

Over the course of a week, we have to offer certain numbers of servings from five different vegetable subgroups: dark green, red/orange, legumes, starchy and “other”. This variety is another key to a healthy diet. By offering the wide variety of veggies prepared in a variety of ways, kids are exposed to new vegetables they might be willing to try. Students in ALL grades may choose two servings of veggies every day as part of a complete meal.

What is a Dutch Waffle?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:41:12-05:00

Our new Dutch Waffle replaces the former very popular Funnel Cake as a healthier option. This is not the waffle you get at the state fair – Dutch Waffles are baked not fried and they are a small 5-inch serving. They are made with whole grains, are trans-fat free, and have less sugar than a muffin & cereal. They are offered just once a week and we have our best school breakfast participation rates on Dutch Waffle day!

Why do we serve “French fries”?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:40:44-05:00

More good news – all of our potato “fries” are actually oven baked. Potatoes are a favorite vegetable choice for many of our students. Over 10 years ago, a grant from the Williamsburg Health Foundation allowed us to put state of the art convection ovens in our schools that did not have them. We even have tasty sweet potato “fries”, rich in fiber and Vitamin A.

Why are some seemingly unhealthy foods offered?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:40:25-05:00

Most of our foods are, in fact, healthy due to manufacturing and preparation modifications. For example, all breaded products are baked in our convection ovens, not fried. All grains are whole grains. We want students, staff and families to consider the whole meal when evaluating the healthfulness of school food. Taking an entrée with the fruit, vegetables, 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. Balance is a key to a healthy diet. In moderation, another key to a healthy diet, you can eat all foods that you enjoy.

It seems like the portions are small in school meals. Why is that?WJCC Schools2021-05-12T12:16:00-04:00

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 for Americans 2015-2020. Children are receiving a healthy portion of all 5 food groups when they participate in the school meal program.

Why do we have pizza days?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:39:35-05:00

Just like families might have certain days where they have certain customs, students can count on one of their favorite foods being offered on certain days. We offer school pizza, Domino’s, Uno’s, and at some schools, Papa Murphy’s pizza. We have great participation on these days, and students are guaranteed a healthy lunch when they come to school.

Where are the salt shakers and salt packets?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:39:14-05:00

In an effort to reduce the sodium content of our meals and to be in compliance with the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act sodium targets, we no longer provide salt shakers or salt packets to season our menu items. Our café teams have received training about seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, fresh vegetables, and other alternatives.

If we usually pack our lunch, what do you have that we can add to our lunch?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:38:49-05:00

A variety of snacks and treats – all Wellness Policy compliant – are available for purchase. Your student may also purchase milk, yogurt, fresh raw veggies with dip, fresh fruit, a cheese stick, or other items that are often tricky to keep adequately cold in a packed lunch.

What side dishes may my student choose?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:38:26-05:00

Check the printed lunch menu which clearly shows what and how many a student may choose. Side grains, such as brown rice or whole grain pasta are offered if the entrée does not contain a grain. Side fruits that are fresh, canned, dried or frozen are available daily and elementary and middle school students may choose one serving; high school students may choose two. Side veggies are available daily and all students at all grades may choose two.

What fresh items are on the menu?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:38:07-05:00

Every day at every school, we have fresh fruits, and/or fresh side salad or fresh vegetable choices. Many entrees have fresh ingredients added for flavor and good nutrition. We often source fresh Virginia Grown produce from local farms. We pride ourselves on having “something fresh every day”!

Do the schools serve breakfast?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:37:46-05:00

Yes, all our schools serve breakfast! The menu is available in the top left corner of the lunch menu. Complete meals, yogurt parfaits, fruit smoothies, and grab and go options are available. Some schools have “Breakfast in the Classroom” and mobile café carts. In addition to some “old school” breakfast favorites, your student may choose from cereal, baked goods, yogurt, fresh fruit & more. Your student may be eligible for a free or reduced price breakfast. Contact the Child Nutrition Services office at 565-3838.

I heard the school cafeterias have worked with professional chefs?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:36:55-05:00

In addition tosomeofour cafeteriamanagerswho arechefs,we have partnered with localvolunteerchefsover theyearstohavethem helpuswith our menusand recipesandcooking clubs. Theyalsohave participated in ourstafftrainingtohelpcontinuetoraise the expectationsforschoolmeals.

Tell me about the made-to-order deli subs in the high schools?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:31:28-05:00

Some high schools offer freshly made, custom made deli subs. Students choose from a whole grain sub roll, flatbread or tortilla and then choose their meat and cheese and then load it up with veggies, topping it off with their choice of homemade dressings. This is available at their usual free, reduced, or paid meal price.

May my student choose a Fruit and Yogurt Parfait or Smoothie as a meal?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:30:48-05:00

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies are very popular as a high school breakfast meal when served with a grain or breakfast bread choice. Your student may add a milk to complete that meal, if they would like. Some other schools offer Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits as a breakfast meal choice. Your student may add another fruit and a milk to complete that meal, if they would like. The Parfaits and Smoothies are also sold a la carte at lunch, while supplies last.

What are the Café Carts?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:30:28-05:00

High school breakfast participation has increased with our carts, which offer another point of sale more convenient to students. The carts offer popular breakfast items, including smoothies, coffee and tea, for high school students on their way to class. There are meal and a la carte options.

I heard the Fresh Veggie Bars have “aged up”?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:29:50-05:00

Yes, the Fresh Veggie Bars are also offered at middle schools so that our new 6th graders who enjoyed them in elementary school may also enjoy them in middle school.

What are the Fresh Veggie Bars?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:29:20-05:00

Each Thursday, they offer an array of fresh, seasonal, raw veggies for students to choose from, with a variety of dipping sauces. Surveys show younger kids prefer raw over cooked veggies and they like to dip their food!

What is the Farm to School program?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:28:52-05:00

We make an effort to source Virginia Grown produce, supporting our local farms and farmers. You will see “Locally Grown Veggie” on the lunch menus, and this varies seasonally. We have also been able to offer locally grown fruit, such as apples and melons. Free samples are often offered in the cafeteria so “make today a try day!” WJCC has some successful school and community gardens that are able to contribute herbs and produce to school cafeterias. Agricultural literacy is a goal of our farm to school program. Students take great pride in knowing some of the food comes from their own garden, where they have learned, tended, and harvested.

Where can I find the school lunch menu?WJCC Schools2018-12-06T10:12:57-05:00

The menu is available on the school division’s website home page. Scroll down and click on “Student Meals”.