Food and Nutrition > Wellness Policy
Nutrition and physical activity are essential for students to achieve their academic and physical potential. Montgomery County Public Schools is committed to creating a school culture that promotes and protects children's health, well-being and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity.
A wellness policy workgroup consisting of administrative staff, students, parents, community members, health and wellness professionals met to draft a policy addressing the creation of a healthy learning environment by providing nutrition education, physical education, physical activity and a variety of healthy food and beverage options.
In 2006, the Board of Education officially adopted a wellness policy supporting a school environment that provides opportunities for students to engage in healthy eating habits and physical activity and to provide instruction to support a healthy lifestyle. Click here to access Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health JPG-RA.
POLICY Board of Education of Montgomery County: Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health adopted by resolution No. 203-06, April 20, 2006.
REGULATION Montgomery County Public Schools: Wellness: Physical and Nutritional Health adopted July 22, 2006, revised March 2, 2012.
LETTER OF COMMENDATION from the Maryland State Department of Education addressing the MCPS Wellness Policy.
We support healthy meal options for students and continually explore new ways to enhance the nutritional contribution and student acceptability of meals. All foods available during the school day including vending machines and a la carte, not only meet current USDA guidelines and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but also the specific nutritional requirements of the MCPS Wellness Policy. Portion sizes are "right sized" and recipe ingredients and preparation methods are evaluated to meet nutritional goals. School meals provide a variety of foods and allow students to learn to recognize proper portion sizes and balanced meals. We are committed to providing students with the opportunity to make smart food choices.
Serving safe food is a high priority for Food and Nutrition Services staff. More than 800 employees work in elementary, middle and high school cafeterias, the food services central production facility, food services warehouse and central office to provide safe and nutritious meals to the students of Montgomery County. We are proud of our long record of serving safe and nutritious meals.
We follow proper food safety procedures in all aspects of handling food, from receiving and storing to preparing and serving food and use Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures to monitor and record critical temperatures. Products prepared in the temperature-controlled central production facility, as well as products received from many vendors are delivered in refrigerated trucks. School foodservice staffs follow standard operating procedures to prepare and serve safe foods to our customers.
Health inspections are routinely conducted by the Montgomery County Health Department Office of Licensure and Regulatory Services. The inspection reports and licenses are posted in the kitchen/cafeteria area and can be viewed by the public. In addition, managers conduct HACCP self-inspections in their school twice a year.
Cafeteria managers are certified in food safety and all employees receive food safety training both on the job and at regular in-service meetings.
We welcome the opportunity to provide parents with information that will allow your child to participate in your school’s meal programs. The information provided is based on current information from manufacturers, recipes for MCPS produced items, and nutritional analysis software.
Please be aware that there are factors that may affect a product’s actual nutritional value and/or ingredient composition at any given time:
This information is updated prior to the start of each school year, and is updated as changes occur. Please check periodically for changes and/or updates.
Due to space restrictions, the abbreviations below have been utilized on the nutrient and allergen pages.
Gluten Free: These foods contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. They are naturally gluten free (such as fresh fruits and vegetables) or tested and certified less than 20 ppm.
No Gluten Ingredients: The ingredients do not include gluten but the products are not tested for gluten and/or may be at risk for cross contamination.
GF=Gluten Free | NGI=No Gluten Ingredients
Additional and/or more specific information is available by contacting the Food and Nutrition Services office at 301-284-4900.
Please provide a doctor's note to the cafeteria manager at your child's school. The cafeteria manager will record this information. Food items that contain milk proteins are found on the Nutrient and Allergen Information List.
Nutrient information, including carbohydrate content of menu items, is available on the Nutrient and Allergen Information list.
Meatless options are available during the week and indicted on menus with the [^] symbol. These include grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese pizzas, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. By talking with the cafeteria manager, an arrangement may be made to provide your child with a meatless meal if one is not part of the selections on a specific day. The manager will need to know at the beginning of the day if your child is present and wants a substitute meal. Families following strict vegan regimes may need to provide lunch from home.
Portion sizes are standardized and don't permit "super sizing". Menus are planned to provide the proper calorie and nutritional content for children within each age range. If your child wants to select lower calorie options from the menus, the calorie content of menu items is available on the Nutrient and Allergen Information list.
Nutrient (calories, fat sodium, etc.) and allergen (wheat dairy, eggs, etc.) information for breakfast and lunch menu items for elementary, middle, and high school menus is found on the Nutrient and Allergen Information list. Generally, the information is current for the school year, but updates are made if new products are introduced, recipes are modified, or manufacturer's information changes - so it is a good idea to check for updates periodically.
MCPS strives to maintain accurate and up-to-date information; however due to factors mentioned above, guarantees are not possible. Information is provided as a guide to help students and parents make the best selections possible for their individual situations.
School Meals are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Menus are planned to meet and exceed the established nutritional guidelines. The school menus are planned to have 30 percent or less calories from fat, 10 percent or less of calories from saturated fat, 0 grams trans-fat, and calorie ranges for each grade level. All menus meet the guidelines of the Healthier US School Challenge (HUSSC).
The Division of Food and Nutrition Services analyzes and evaluates menus regularly in order to ensure that the USDA guidelines are met. In addition, the Maryland State Department of Education, School and Community Nutrition Programs Branch conduct an annual review of operations and menus.
MCPS school meals already meet or exceed many of the new requirements, so students will notice only small changes on the menus.
We will continue to introduce new menu items throughout the school year.