Food Requirements for Arizona Schools

Arizona Schools provide lunch for students

Welcome to August!  School is now in session for many Arizona schools and certain food requirements are mandatory.  Eating nutritious foods has never been more paramount than considering ways to improve public health after a global pandemic.  Plus, it’s key for helping to reduce childhood obesity and support a healthier lifestyle starting from a young age.

Arizona’s Department of Education moved quickly to re-evaluate food requirements for Arizona Schools in 2020, resulting in new standards for what is served at breakfast and lunch times across the state.  For example, The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, was developed to ensure kids of all ages are getting a mandatory serving of immunity-boosting fruits and vegetables at each meal. 

Let’s take a closer look at current school food serving requirements.

Arizona Schools Menu Requirements

Most of our states’ schools participate in the, Child Nutrition Program, outlining specific guidelines around which foods are allowed and which are prohibited.  While some Arizonan schools follow the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which are held to strict requirements as well. 

However, all school menus are meant to incorporate both healthy and appealing foods for our children. Students need to have an interest in what’s on the menu, as well as, the benefit of a highly nutritious item.  As every parent knows, if it doesn’t taste good, your child won’t eat it.

Here’s what is required for Arizona school menus:

More fruits and vegetables – Offering larger portions and more variety of fruits and vegetables helps encourage students to eat healthier.  Vegetables must include options of legumes, dark green, red or orange vegetables.  Each school breakfast must provide students with a full cup of fruits or vegetables.  At lunch, students are required to have at least one half-cup serving of fruits or vegetables on their plate with each school meal.

Whole grains – Only whole grains will be provided.  No other type will be offered as an alternative.

Unhealthy fats – Meals cannot contain added trans-fat and no more than 10% of calories can come from saturated fat. 

Low-fat and fat-free milk – Every school meal must offer students one cup of fat-free or 1% milk options. 

Schools are also enforcing various calorie limits per academic level (Elementary, middle and high school) to help control and regulate caloric consumption. 

Be Patient with Unexpected School Menu Changes

With the increased cost of food and supply chain shortages, many schools face increased challenges finding what they need within their budget and nutritional requirements they must adhere to. . It is not uncommon for nutritional management to make unexpected adjustments to the menu without enough time to send an update on what’s for breakfast or lunch.  Schools may need to swap food items or change what to serve on which days.  We must be patient with school nutrition professionals who are seeking the best ways to ensure all state requirements are met, while providing delicious and nutritious foods within budget and supply chain availability. 

Peddler’s Son is Arizona’s Top-Quality Food Supplier

Peddler’s Son is the go-to food supplier for Arizona restaurants, hospitals, schools and more.  Family-owned and operated since 1988, Peddler’s Son brings you honest pricing, unparalleled customer service and farm-fresh produce every day.   We believe in quality and that’s what you’ll get when you rely on us to deliver high-value foods for all your dishes.  We put our food quality and reliable delivery service first, along with the customers we serve all across the state. 

Want to get reliable quality fresh foods for your school or business?  We can help! Contact us today to see how we can help you get the food you need delivered fresh and on-time!

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