Healthy Menus,

Healthy Children

Parents and community members have a right to know how school menus impact children's health. 

How do the 25 largest school districts in America measure up?
Using the Federal Dietary Guidelines MyPlate tool as our guide, we measured the healthfulness of menus in schools across the country to see how closely they align to the minimum standards for healthy dietary patterns.
 
Click the institution's name to view its menus.

Score

Institution

Details

Recommendations

Clark County School District has earned the distinction of being a Balanced Menu Leader because of their enthusiastic commitment to improving the healthfulness of their menus by diversifying protein sources to increase fiber and nutrients on their menus. Despite the significant challenges they face, their team is working hard to innovate within their program to balance school lunch menus and become a model for other school district food service teams.

In alignment with our accountability strategy for measuring progress, Balanced will re-evaluate Clark County School District's menus in August of 2019.

Cobb County School District, Georgia

Cobb County School District has earned the distinction of being a Balanced Menu Leader. CCSD has committed to redesign its menus in an effort to reduce the number of unhealthy meat, egg, and processed foods served to students. Through culinary training and menu redesign, CCSD has a plan for replacing a portion of unhealthy meat products with plant-based alternatives. Additionally, there is evidence CCSD intends to engage in district-wide culinary training to improve the quality and quantity of healthy, fresh produce options. 

In alignment with our accountability strategy for measuring progress, Balanced will re-evaluate CCSD's menus in August of 2019.

While the district succeeds in offering plant-based or meatless entrees and fresh fruit daily, NYCPS continues to serve red and processed meats more than twice per week. The district offers diverse proteins characteristic of balanced meals, but healthier proteins are limited while less healthy entrees high in cholesterol and saturated fats abound.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

FCPS offers warm meatless meals but serves red and processed meats greater than twice per week on lunch menus. While fresh fruit is offered daily, not all classes of vegetables are offered twice per week, and legumes are not offered daily. Thus, the district does not regularly offer diverse protein and produce options consistent with balanced menus.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

MDCPS succeeds in offering fresh fruit and warm meatless options daily but offers red and processed meats two or more times per week. A lack of diverse protein and produce options results in less balanced menus. However, milk is restricted to the lowest fat, unsweetened options.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

DCPS, while offering fresh fruit daily, does not consistently offer diverse vegetable options and meatless meal options. Red and processed meats are offered greater than twice per week at lunch across grade levels. Thus, the district does not consistently balance menus with diverse protein and produce options.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

WCPS succeeds in offering daily diverse proteins and fresh fruit at lunch, but not at breakfast. Although, red and processed meats are offered more than twice per week on all menus, meatless options are generally available. Overall, a lack of consistently diverse produce and protein options results in less balanced menus.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

CMS succeeds in offering diverse fruit and vegetable options, and red and processed meat offerings are restricted to once or twice per week. Only higher grade levels have daily meatless meals and diverse proteins. Menus are not transparent on milk offerings. Overall, menus are only sometimes balanced with adequate produce and diverse proteins.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week
Emphasize 100% whole grains
Serve water or plant-based milk options and restrict sugar-added varieties of all milk
Provide warm, meatless options at every meal

SDPBC offers fresh fruit and meatless meal options daily, although the meatless options usually contain dairy. Red and processed meats are available more than twice per week and weekly vegetable offerings are not consistently diverse. In total, menus are not balanced with diverse proteins or adequate produce.

Diversify protein by replacing at least one entree per week with a plant-based protein
Immediately remove processed meat (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, lunch meat)
Restrict high-cholesterol foods like red meat and eggs 
Ensure all classes of vegetables are served twice per week