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Fort Knox Food Service Program Encourages Healthy Choices

By Dr. Frank Calvano

| October 20, 2011

At Fort Knox, the eight school cafeterias serve nutritious breakfast and lunch daily. Specifically, our food service department prepares 400 breakfast and 1,300 lunch meals every school day.

Providing quality school food service is a complex process.

The school district’s meals program follows the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Dietary Guidelines and Meal Pattern provided to us by the State of Kentucky. USDA and the Kentucky Education Department’s Nutrition and Health Services oversee that we stay within the guidelines. When requested, we send samples of menus to them, and they then assign one of their dieticians to make a meal analysis. We are required to stay within the daily calorie intake, limiting sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats.

Our menu planning approach is well within the guidelines. We lowered the sodium intake (lowering the amount of sodium in the USDA recipes), using a zero trans fat butter product, and implemented more greens in our salads -- green leaf lettuce and spinach. We also use orange and red vegetables for healthier options. We offer fruits and vegetables to the students daily at breakfast and lunch. We encourage our students to take fruits and vegetables because they are healthy options. Students also can take extra helpings of fruits and vegetables at no extra cost.

Our main entrée portions are regulated by USDA guidelines, and so are our starches. To stay within the requirements, we offer portion control on those items.

This school year, all our flavored milk that is offered is fat free. We also offer one percent white milk. We are changing our breads to whole grain (53 percent) and whole wheat. As they become available, all pasta will be whole grain or wheat. Last school year we changed some items, such as white rice to brown rice.

All food is served in a hygienic environment. Our cafeterias are inspected by the Army’s Preventive Medicine staff monthly, compared to every six month in the county schools. In addition, the cafeterias must follow the military TB Med 530 guidelines.

The goal of the food service director is to show our students how to make healthy lunch choices. She will visit all Fort Knox schools and talk to students about our lunch program. She started visiting some schools last year and had a very positive response. She wants to educate the students on school lunches and take their comments and suggestions that are within the guidelines to improve our lunches.

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