Serving Healthy School Meals

Assessing Kitchen Equipment and Infrastructure Needs

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Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, schools were required to implement new nutrition standards for school meals, ones that required them to serve more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and to serve only fat-free and low-fat milk.

The Issue

The second in a series of reports from the Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, this report summarizes how schools are putting the new meal standards in place, and the challenges they must overcome in order to reach full implementation.

Specifically, this report addresses school food service equipment and infrastructure needs.

 

Key Findings

  • The vast majority of school food authorities (88%) needed one or more pieces of equipment to help them meet the current lunch standards. Of those that reported having inadequate equipment, more than 85 percent are “making do” with a less-efficient process or workaround.

  • Only 42 percent of school food authorities reported having a budget to purchase capital equipment, and less than half expected the budget to be adequate to meet their equipment needs.

  • More than half of all school food authorities (55%) need kitchen infrastructure changes at one or more schools to meet the lunch requirements.

Conclusion:

The report highlights ways in which schools, policy-makers at all levels, businesses, and nonprofits could help schools meet their kitchen equipment needs.

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