On Jan. 25, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the final rule to the nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Chartwells, a division of Compass Group, will continue to partner with its school districts to ensure that meals at all grade levels meet the final guidelines according to the timeline set forth by the USDA. The final standards include offering fruits and vegetables every day, increasing whole grain-rich foods, offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties and serving proper portion sizes.
Chartwells strongly supports improvements to the breakfast and lunch meal patterns that are required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which were signed into law by President Obama in 2010. These revisions reflected the same types of changes in Chartwells' own guidelines published earlier that same year.
Chartwells has already made many advances in improving the nutrition standards for school meals in the districts it serves.
In advance of new regulations, Chartwells implemented school nutrition guidelines in 2010 that increased legumes, fruits, vegetables and low-fat or non-fat milk, and properly-sized portions.
Chartwells promotes locally grown fruits and vegetables on its menus nationwide. In 2011, Chartwells purchased $3 million of local produce -up from $1.04 million in 2010.
145 Chartwells schools have received a HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) award.
Chartwells is a MyPlate strategic partner with USDA. Through this partnership, Chartwells has committed to educating its customers and their families on the fundamentals of healthful and enjoyable eating in school and at home.
Healthful school meals and locally sourced foods are priorities for Chartwells and the schools they proudly serve. Chartwells' Simply Good program promotes a culinary emphasis that focuses on healthier meal options, especially ones with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. This program has experienced tremendous success in its schools with 89 percent of 534 districts surveyed indicating increased customer satisfaction and added value to their operations.
Healthy items are featured on award-winning Chartwells school menus. Physical education and activity are highly emphasized. Chartwells associates champion HUSSC work by helping their schools improve the quality of the foods served, provide students with nutrition education, and provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity, with its diverse team of dedicated dietitians, chefs, food and nutrition specialists.
All across the country, Chartwells works to support and improve the health of our children and our communities:
In the Amarillo, Texas school district, the school menus already incorporated the guidelines that are part of the USDA improvements, by using whole wheat on the majority of their menus; offering a 1/2 cup of a different green vegetable everyday as well as orange or yellow vegetables, along with three types of fruit daily; all of their juices are made with 100 percent juice.
At Stamford, Conn. public schools, nutrition education was the main focus in obtaining HUSSC awards. Each school submitted an application in conjunction with the resident dietitian, requiring collaboration with principals, physical education teachers and parent/teacher representatives.
At East Bay, R.I. area schools, Chartwells was instrumental in getting the wellness policies updated with language that incorporates USDA and HUSSC criteria for school environments beyond the cafeteria. Chartwells associates are active members on all of the district's Wellness committees.
In Spartanburg County, S.C. schools, administrators lauded Chartwells efforts in providing the leadership needed to earn HUSSC awards. Chartwells' nutritional and culinary expertise continually enhances the nutritional value of the meals served to Spartanburg students, playing a key role in achieving their Bronze award.
Leveraging First Lady Michelle Obama's concept behind her "Chefs Move to Schools" program, Chartwells launched their Chefs 2 Schools Program in March 2011. Under the program premise, guest chefs 'adopt' a local school district. They make occasional planned visits to designated schools, for the purpose of creating a focus on healthy meals and helping to educate students about sound eating habits and food preparation.
For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit www.eatlearnlive.com .