Vending machine, student store, a la carte and associated student body sales will be closely monitored for nutritional content as the school year kicks into gear come Sept. 6.
The Edmonds School Board approved a nutrition policy change that affects several food and beverage options at its Aug. 9 meeting.
The amount of pop and high-sugar, high-fat snacks will decrease, leaving students with more healthier options such as 100 percent fruit juice, water, granola bars and dried fruit.
Regular school meals will not be affected as they will continue to meet the standards in place, said Barb Lloyd, director of food service at the district.
The changes are in compliance with a state Senate bill that required schools to update their nutrition standards by this month, Lloyd said.
The school board’s approval guarantees that more nutritional foods and beverages will be offered in competition to standard meal options. Seventy percent of all options must fully meet the nutritional standards. The remaining 30 percent do not have to meet all standards, but they must have some nutritional value. Caffeinated beverages are not recommended.
To fall into the 70-percent category, food must:
• have a total fat content less than or equal to 30 percent of total calories per serving (not including seeds and nuts);
• have a saturated fat content less than or equal to 10 percent of the total calories per serving;
• have a sugar content less than or equal to 15 grams per serving (with some exceptions to fruit, juices and vegetables).
Portion sizes also will be monitored.
Lloyd said the district plans to carefully watch the sales of these foods, particularly because ASBs depend on revenue from vending machines and other food sales to support clubs, athletics and other programs.
Mountlake Terrace High School students Alex LaCasse and Stephanie Jones attended the school board meeting and said a lot of students feel their choices are being limited by the policy.
Jones said high school students are almost adults, and they should be given the choice of eating healthy or non-healthy options.
But what worries Jones and LaCasse is that sales may drop as students find other ways to obtain junk food – sending clubs, athletics and other programs scrounging to survive with smaller budgets.
“It’s kind of a big thing when we lose funding for activities,” LaCasse said.
Lloyd said she will give a report at a later school board meeting to let the members know how ASBs and other funds are affected by the nutrition policy.