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Why must I take a fruit or a vegetable?

posted Nov 3, 2016, 1:59 PM by Brenda Williams
I cannot count the times I am asked this question….”Why must I take a fruit or vegetable?” It’s a great question. We at Pequot Lakes School District must make sure that every student has either a fruit or vegetable on his/her tray before they leave the lunch line. Let me tell you why!

Back in the mid 1970’s, Congressman Bill Goodling and other leaders believed students were throwing away far too much and they devised the “Offer Versus Serve” Food Based Menu Plan option. This option was designed to decrease food waste and give students greater flexibility in choosing the foods they will eat. Before this was passed, every student in the lunch line was served all foods that were offered for the meal. All school food programs participating in the National School Lunch Program must serve five (5) meal components at every lunch. These are meat/meat alternative, grains, fruits, vegetables and milk. For the Offer Versus Serve option, the students have a choice. They choose three (3) full servings from the options offered; milk is included in this count. The only requirement beyond that is one serving on his/her plate MUST be a fruit or a vegetable.

For breakfast the rule stays the same. Each student must take a serving of fruit or vegetable. We typically do not serve vegetables for breakfast but always have a fruit offered and a variety of 100% fruit juices.

This is where the question comes in….”Why must I take a fruit or vegetable?”

The answer is this….For every meal we serve in the school district, the district gets funding from the state and federal government. In order for us to receive this funding, we must make sure each student gets a full meal, including a fruit or a vegetable. The simple answer is that in order for the school district to get funding you must take a fruit or vegetable, and hopefully eat it! We offer a variety of fruits and vegetables at the Pequot Lakes school district, many of which come straight from our local farmers. I am confident there is something everyone likes on the menu every day!

-- Patty Buell, Food Services Director
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