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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Removal of unpopular items in school meals OK’d

Students in public and private schools will see new choices in their breakfast and lunch meals after the Board of Education approved the removal of “unpopular and problematic” food items from the menus.

The new food choices will be implemented in the spring semester of 2014, according to Food and Nutrition Services program manager Dale Roberts.

“There were a few items we changed, those that are a little bit problematic and not popular to most of the students,” he said, adding that most changes will be on the entrees and side items.

For example, high school students will have two side choices that will be aligned on certain days to make them compatible with main entrees.

Last year, the board raised concerns about non-appealing food items in the PSS breakfast and lunch meal program that result in the low participation of students and often a waste of funds.

One particular food item that students find unappealing is black beans. Roberts said they made changes on the beans to make it more palatable.

Despite some complaints on the brown rice, Roberts said this would still be served. He explained that there’s a way to make the mixture of white and brown rice appealing by going through the proper mixture of these items.

According to Roberts, the changes in the school menus were a result of the FNS team’s monitoring and observation. Also factored in is the data on student participation in the meal program.

Other items that will still be on the menu are spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, and ensalada (salads), among others.

PSS will also initiate a “Monday Soup” schedule to attract greater participation in the breakfast meals. Mondays have been found to have the lowest student participation in school meals.

In high school, students will have three to four salad choices.

Among the food items in the newly-approved school meal choices are the following:

In one schedule, Monday breakfast will include corn and egg soup, bread or crackers, and fruit. Lunch choices on the same day include chicken with stir-fried vegetables, rice, fruit or tuna kelaguen wrap and fruit.

For the Tuesday menu, breakfast offerings include omelet, rice, and fruit. Lunch choices include beef and bean macaroni, green peas, pepperoni and bell pepper, pizza, green peas, and fruit.

For Wednesday, breakfasts will have French toasts with syrup and fruit while lunch menus include chicken adobo with potatoes, carrot rice, local greens, and fruit. Lunch may also include chilled Italian sub, local greens, and fruit.

Saipan Tribune learned that breakfasts are served to students with a choice of milk or juice every day. Lunch, meantime, is served with a choice of water or milk each day.

These are just among the many food items under the new school meal menu for next year.

FNS, Roberts said, would start talking to students on three islands about the changes in their food choices.

The PSS school breakfast and lunch program serves 14,000 meals daily to public and private school students.

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