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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 9, September 2012, Posted On: 9/5/2012

Aramark Revamps K-12 Menus To Meet New USDA Guidelines

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending, vending machine, food service, healthy vending, Aramark, Healthy for Life recipes, U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA school nutrition standards, school lunch and breakfast programs

PHILADELPHIA -- Aramark has created "Healthy for Life" recipes to meet the USDA's revised nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs this fall. It has also launched an online parent resource portal to help improve childhood nutrition at the 3,000 K-12 schools it serves in the U.S.

Healthy for Life recipes add less fats, sugar and salt, and feature low- and non-fat dairy options, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and 100% fruit.

The USDA's new standards focus on obtaining calories and other key nutrients from fruits, vegetables, protein foods, grains and milk, with proper serving sizes for a student's age and activity level. Half of the grain items served this year will be whole grain, and students must take at least a half-cup of fruit or vegetable each day. Additionally, flavored milk will be offered in fat-free or skim varieties, while unflavored or white milk will be offered as skim or 1%. Schools must also decrease the number of desserts offered to enable an increase in higher nutrient foods.

Signs will be posted on each service line to help students recognize how their menu choices fit into the key food groups needed to ensure a balanced diet.

In addition to the menu changes, Aramark's Healthy for Life wellness and nutrition education program has been expanded to include an online parent resource portal -- myhealthyforlife.com. It offers menu suggestions, recipes, snack ideas and other resources to encourage students and their families to make healthier food choices and adopt more active lifestyles.

It also includes details about the USDA's new regulations and the impact on school meals; information about the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast programs, and how families can apply for benefits; and frequently asked parent questions, with answers from Aramark dietitians.

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