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2001 School Lunch Report Card: Key Findings

A Report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

introduction | districts surveyed | key findings

Table B: Summary of Key Findings

Meeting USDA Guidelines

  • 9 out of 12 school districts said they are meeting the nutrition guidelines—75 percent
  • 3 out of 12 said they are not meeting guidelines, are not sure, or don't care—25 percent

Commodity Foods Utilized

  • The five most common foods ordered among the 12 school districts surveyed were:
    1. ground beef
    2. chicken (either nuggets or patties)
    3. cheese
    4. canned fruit
    5. flour
  • Three of these top five foods are high in fat and cholesterol.

Availability of Calcium-Rich, Non-Dairy Foods

  • 1 out of 12 school districts routinely served non-dairy calcium sources (specifically, they offered calcium-rich vegetables)—8 percent
  • 6 out of 12 required a doctor's note to allow children to refuse milk—50 percent

Efforts to Lower Fat

  • 4 out of 12 school districts said it is difficult to meet the low fat standard—33 percent
  • 2 out of 12 are not making an effort to reduce fat in the menu—17 percent
  • 10 out of 12 are making an effort to reduce fat in the menu—83 percent
  • 1 out of 12 is lowering fat by replacing meat offerings with vegetable protein sources—8 percent

Methods used to lower fat:

    • Four school districts indicated that they never fried, but grilled and baked instead.
    • Five school districts switched to low-fat dressings, leaner beef, and/or lower-fat yogurt.
    • Two school districts rinsed, drained, or blotted pizza and burgers.
    • One school district replaced 25 to 30 percent of meat dishes with textured vegetable protein.

Availability of Vegetarian Entr¹es

  • 10 out of 12 have something to serve for vegetarian requests (most commonly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, or grilled cheese sandwich)—83 percent
  • 2 out of 12 offer a variety of vegetarian offerings (such as spaghetti marinara, taco salad with beans, tofu pups, vegetable lasagna)—17 percent
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