Is This School Lunch Revolution in Action?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Earlier this year the First Lady unveiled the new school lunch guidelines. The revised USDA nutrition standards require schools to update menus to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free fluid milk or low-fat dairy while lowering sodium, saturated and trans fat levels.
Implementing the revised standards is expected to increase food costs for many school districts that are already facing tight budgets. However, creative food service administrators have already begun providing healthier meals while still maintaining their bottom line. One creative program that has caught their attention seems to be a quick service option with a goal to "provide added nutrition benefits to the most popular entrée served in schools to help give kids energy to learn, grow and play." When administrators notice how the cost effective quick service option easily meets the revised USDA guidelines while also collaborating with reputable organizations like the Whole Grains Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the School Nutrition Association, the program certainly increases in credibility. So what quick service program is targeting schools?

That would be the Domino's Smart Slice school lunch program. According to a press release last week, the program that launched three years ago has almost tripled in the number of schools they service over the past year. One reason for the increase is likely that the company anticipated school lunch change was on the horizon and developed a program to meet that change. When Domino's Smart Slice pizza is served with fat-free milk and a fruit or vegetable side item, it qualifies as a National School Lunch Program reimbursable meal.
Domino's estimates that two-thirds of all U.S. schools are no more than nine minutes away from one of their local stores. This allows schools to receive hot and fresh ready-to-serve pizza when it is time for lunch service in main lunch lines or as an a la cart service option.. Domino's developed a nutrition conscious product for schools made with specialty ingredients. The new product is more nutritious than the frozen alternatives many school districts have been using and saves money on staffing needs for preparation as well as space for storage.
Here is how a slice of Smart Slice pizza compares with a traditional slice:
Domino's Smart Slice Cheese Pizza (1 slice of a 16" pizza)
Calories – 300
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 540 mg
Carbohydrate – 38 grams
Fiber – 4 grams
Protein – 21 grams
Domino's Hand Tossed Cheese Pizza (1 slice of a 16" pizza)
Calories – 380
Fat – 13.5 grams
Sodium – 830 mg
Carbohydrate – 46 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 16 grams
What do you think? Is this the school lunch revolution you had in mind to help improve childhood obesity? Is there a place for healthier versions of favorite foods on school menus?

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