Our dietitians work diligently to balance many aspects of menu planning -- regulations established by the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety, cost, preparation, storage, seasonal availability, Healthy Guidelines for Americans and donated government foods -- to provide healthy meals that are acceptable to our customers.
In addition, we collaborate with manufacturers and develop specifications to provide foods that not only taste good, but also are lower in fats and sodium. New products are tested periodically with student groups and, if results are positive, the products are introduced on menus for all students.
Sometimes, foods, such as whole grains, are not particularly acceptable to students, but recognized as highly beneficial and healthy. In these instances we will try different forms of the product, believing that, over time, students will become more accustomed to having these foods as a regular part of their diets.
MCPS menus are planned in cycles during the school year. Different menu items may be offered for a specified period of time and then replaced with new offerings. This allows us to increase the variety of foods offered during the year.