Bend-La Pine schools laid out its menu of healthy changes to school lunches on Monday, including a narrowing of milk choices -- eliminating strawberry and root beer-flavored milk amid a local campaign to get all flavored milk out of the schools due to their sugar content.
Here's the full news release from the school district:
Bend-La Pine Schools Meal Program Leads Change
District Nutritionist and Wellness Coordinator develop healthy, tasty options for students
This fall, school cafeterias across the country will be brimming with even more healthy meal options for students as federal nutrition standards expand to include larger servings of vegetables and fruits, more whole grain baked options, lower sodium meal options, strict limits on saturated fat content, age appropriate portion control, and fat-free and 1% milk with school meals.
Thanks to the work of Bend-La Pine Schools Wellness Coordinator, district Chef, and Nutrition Services staff members, the district is credited with being ahead of much of the nation when it comes to offering a bounty of healthy, well-balanced school meals that are rich in local fruits, vegetables, meats and whole-wheat baked goods.
?We?re always working to offer Bend-La Pine Schools students healthier and tastier choices that are nutrient rich,? said Director of Nutrition Services Terry Cashman. ?Students are excited about restaurant quality options that are made from scratch like baked beef ziti, black bean burgers, humus, granola, chicken pot pies, teriyaki chicken and brown rice.?
Cashman said that the district bakes it?s own products which has helped to control costs, eliminate trans-fats from products, and allowed for the use of whole wheat and grains in all products, baked fresh nightly ? from pizza crusts to sandwich bread.
?We also look to low-fat and non-fat cheese and meat offerings for students,? said Cashman. ?Next school year we will eliminate our strawberry and root beer flavored milks as they are made with 1% milk. We will offer non-fat white and chocolate milk and 1% white milk.?
Cashman says that students have unlimited access to Offering Stations brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables each day.
?Thanks to our Farm to School partnerships, we have been able to procure local, farm fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats at commodity pricing,? he adds. ?This has increased consumption, and exposure, to local selections that might not otherwise be available to students.?
Cashman says that diet has a long-range effect on health, happiness, education, and success of students. His team develops healthy meals, with as much local produce, meats, and made from scratch baked goods as possible.
?Connecting our nurses to our Wellness Coordinator and Chef have allowed us an opportunity to ensure that students with special dietary requirements and food allergies are having their needs met when they sit down for school meals,? said Cashman. ?Using a trained Chef to develop new food selections and menus for all students has resulted in an increase in meals served - especially at the high school level - and reduced food waste.?
Bend-La Pine Schools delivers more than 2.3 million tasty, healthy meals to students each year to students within the district as well as several local private schools.
Meanwhile, a group called 'Good Hydration' is continuing its drive to ban flavored milk from the schools. They issued this news release Monday, in advance of Tuesday night's school board meeting:
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS SUPPORT GOOD HYDRATION
Over 100 Sign Letter Asking for the Removal of Sugared Beverages from Local Schools
BEND, ORE. ?? Dr. Stephen Archer, MD FACS (Obesity Specialist, Bariatric Surgeon), will be presenting a large body of evidence supporting the removal of sugared beverages at the Bend-LaPine School Board Meeting Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Archer spoke before the Wellness Committee on April 25, 2012. So far no door has been opened to further the conversation on the possibility of removing the sugared beverages from our local schools. This stance is shocking to the large group of concerned citizens considering the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no sugared beverages per day.
?I have never seen the medical community, many of them physicians, immediately come together in such large numbers in support of a local cause before,? said Dr. Archer. ?This is something to take note of.?
So why isn?t the media or Bend-La Pine School District?s Nutrition Services taking note? So far they have ignored the thousands of medical studies done showing the direct link between processed carbohydrates (sugar) and the epidemic of childhood obesity and type II diabetes.
When local mother and Good Hydration member Melissa Hassell initially contacted Terry Cashman, Head of Nutrition Services, to ask him about removing sugared beverages, he referred her to a study funded by the American Dairy Association citing that removing the sugared milk in schools shows a drop in milk consumption. To date over 1,360 schools across the country, including some in Oregon, have removed sugared milk with no distinct drop in milk consumption.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves over 650,000 meals a day, made the switch. Eugene, Oregon made the switch. 70% of adults and 30% of children are overweight or obese. 33% of children are expected to develop type II diabetes. Removing sugared beverages is an important step in lowering these statistics.
About Good Hydration:
Good Hydration is a group of concerned parents, health care professionals and citizens asking for the removal of sugared beverages from our local schools. For more information, or to schedule an interview with members of Good Hydration or Dr. Stephen Archer, call 541.913.6693 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asked about the school district's announcement, Good Hydration member Rose Archer provided this response Tuesday morning:
"We are very happy to see this as a first step and we recognize that Nutrition Services is way above par when it comes to their efforts to make school food as healthy as they can with their limited budget.
However, according to Terry Cashman the only reason they are removing these two flavors is because the new federal regulations say that these milks must be fat free and Eberhards is having a hard time coming up with a recipe that fits all the guidelines. We called Eberhards and they confirmed this problem. So it would lead us to believe that if Eberhards can find the recipe solution these highly sugared, artificially flavored and colored beverages will be back.
If they were removing them because they did 10 minutes of research from unbiased studies and found out what we did (that these are incredibly unhealthy for children) then we would be happier as it would ensure they were gone for good. The following quote from their press release says it all: "Next school year we will eliminate our strawberry and root beer flavored milks as they are made with 1% milk. We will offer non-fat white and chocolate milk and 1% white milk."
The percentage of fat is not the problem with these milks. The percentage of sugar is.
Secondly, we will continue our cause to remove ALL highly sugared beverages from local schools. Local dieticians have argued that fruit juices is worse for children than flavored milk as it contains all of the sugar and none of the nutrients. The main sugar in 100% fruit juice is fructose which is processed different from other sugars, by the liver, and is stored preferentially as fat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children consume no sugared beverages per day, this includes fruit juice. We would like chocolate milk to be served once a week in place of dessert, since it is dessert. "