Menu Advisory Board
The School Food Service Department (SFS) designs menus for all of the Child Nutrition Programs administered through The School District of Palm Beach County. The menu development process is complex and consideration must first be given to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. A Menu Advisory Board is essential when addressing the complexities of providing a variety of nutritious and appealing meals for students across the District. This group oversees the development of all the District menus such as the Grab and Go Breakfast, Standard Breakfast, Elementary Lunch, and Secondary Lunch.
During the 2011-2012 school year, the Menu Advisory Board was comprised of a variety of SFS Managers from each of the eight geographical areas, SFS Administrators, SFS Field Coordinators, and representatives from the Nutrition & Wellness Promotion Team and the Equipment & Facilities Management Team. All members were responsible for attending the meetings throughout the school year. During the meetings, SFS Managers had an opportunity to discuss the feedback they received from their colleagues in their areas. Concerns with student acceptance, item placement, cost effectiveness, serving efficiencies, recipe development, as well as other topics were discussed. During Area Meetings, the SFS Managers played a key role in communicating the changes noted in the menu design and any additional information was discussed. In addition to being a communication liaison, often these SFS Managers were selected to conduct product testing with their students. They were provided with the necessary tools to encourage detailed student feedback.
The SFS Department recognizes that special guests such as parents, school administrators, teachers, school nurses, students, media representatives, food industry representatives and community partners can provide valuable contribution to the development process and welcome input from these members.
Health-e Living™ is a comprehensive web tool that provides the user an opportunity to select menu options offered in the school cafeteria to evaluate the nutritional makeup of the meal selected. Each school year the information is updated to reflect the current products. Many parents and students have used this special feature to make informed age-appropriate decisions on how to best maximize meal choices as they relate to nutrient composition and to recommended amounts. Please visit Health-e Living™ website to see what this program has to offer.
In addition to providing nutritional information, this website provides access to a wealth of resources such as the District’s Wellness Promotion Policy (2.035), the District’s Wellness Promotion Policy Annual Reports, District School Menus, Elementary A La Carte Items, FCAT Marketing Flyers, Carbohydrate and Fiber Count Listing, Online Prepayment Services, Competitive Foods Guidelines, Nutrition Lessons and much more.
This past school year, the Health-e Living™ website received over 3,500 hits and over 26,680 hits since the SFS Department department began offering this service in 2005.
The School District of Palm Beach County is the 11th largest school district in the nation, and the 5th largest in the state of Florida. Because of our diverse population, every day the SFS Department offers a variety of entrées for students to choose from. Due to an increase in students requesting vegetarian meals, our department began offering a vegetarian choice every day in January 2009. Some of the most popular vegetarian items are Meatless Lasagna, Cheese Pizza, Chili, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Muffin Platter.
Did you know that the Department of Multicultural Education translates the District menus into the following languages Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish? This service is provided to assist the diverse population of students and parents that The School District of Palm Beach County serves. Our county is represented by more than 200 countries with over 141 spoken languages. In addition to translating the monthly menus, the Department of Multicultural Education collaboratively works with the SFS Department to translate other very important material such as the Free & Reduced Meal Applications, the yearly marketing letter, FCAT educational material, and Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP) material.
The SFS Department continues to evaluate the nutritional integrity of a la carte offerings at all levels. During the 2011-2012 school year, all a la carte snacks offered at the elementary level met the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) criteria and all but one item met the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) criteria.
The SFS Department has also created “Beverage Shopping Guides” that are provided to the SFS Manager each year detailing the approved beverages for the specific level. The “Beverage Shopping Guides” are updated each school year to reflect the most up-to-date nutrition guidelines and current product on bid. In addition, the documents include important information such as if the product meets the AHG guidelines.
The School District of Palm Beach County offers the convenience of online prepayments to all students registered in the District. This service provides parents with a means of making secure payments any time of the day for their child’s activities and cafeteria meal account. It is an easy to use online shopping environment where you can use credit cards, eChecks, or pre-pay eWallet. This service allows parents to manage school and meal expenses, view the Free and Reduced-price Meal Benefits webpage and click on the button titled "Meal Accounts - Payment & Purchase History".