Is the breakfast program for free students only?


No. Breakfast is available and offered to all students and faculty on 32 campuses in Spring Branch. The Texas Legislature mandated the Breakfast Program in 1978 for all schools where 10% of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced meals on campus. The breakfast meal pattern must include milk, fruit or fruit juice or vegetable juice, bread or cereal with meat or meat alternate served often, as well as including vitamin C and iron rich foods. Breakfast is a sound nutritional benefit. Studies show that students who have breakfast are more alert, do well in morning classes and have fewer discipline problems.

Why can't students and adults have seconds?


The intention of the National School Lunch Program is to provide "one meal per child per day." Kitchen managers plan and prepare meals based on the average number of students who participate in the lunch program. In order to control costs, the manager should not prepare for second servings and should practice portion control on the servings she does prepare.



What does "offer vs. serve" mean?


Offer versus serve as established in October 1975 when Public Law 94-105 mandated that students in high school would not be required to accept offered foods they did not intend to consume. At the middle school and elementary levels, the policy is optional and it is up to each individual district to decide whether they wish to extend offer vs. serve to the middle or elementary level. Spring Branch Food Service Department has opted to extend offer vs. serve to include the elementary and middle schools.

The five components of the meal include:

  • meat or meal alternate
  • fruit
  • vegetable
  • bread or bread alternate
  • milk.
As long as the student takes three of the five items, the meal will be counted as a complete meal and eligible for reimbursement.




If I take fewer than five items, will I be able to pay less for my meal?


No. The purpose of the offer vs. serve program is to reduce plate waste and allow students a choice in what they wish to have for lunch. The student may take everything if he desires;as a result, there is no reduction in price.

Why is the adult charge higher than the student charge?


The intent of the National School Lunch Program is to provide nutritious and low cost meals to children. Since this program is for children, there is no federal assistance for meals served to adults. Therefore, the adult meal charge has to be at least a combination of the basic reimbursement rate plus the guaranteed value of USDA commodities (per plate) and higher than the highest charge to the child in the school district. An adult should receive the same size meal as that of a secondary student for the established charge.

Why do school lunches seem so high in starch?


The school lunch pattern requires schools to serve eight bread or bread alternates per week. This regulation came about as a result of the dietary guideline for Americans to increase our consumption of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables, breads, pasta and cereal products contain many essential nutrients in addition to calories.

At the base of the Food Guide Pyramid are breads, cereals, rice and pasta -- all foods from grains. The average American diet is low in dietary fiber which should include 6-11 servings of these foods from grain each day. Texas Bread was added to the lunch menu this year. This thick bread slice is equivalent to 1¸ slices of regular bread and helps contribute to a higher intake of grain products.



Why must milk be served with school lunch?


Eight ounces (1 cup) of fluid milk is a required component of the school lunch pattern. No other beverage (juice, ice tea, or soda), nor food (ice cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt), can be substituted for this required component.



Why are bread and potatoes served in the same meal?


A bread or bread alternate is a required component of the school lunch pattern. Potatoes are considered a vegetable and meet only the fruit/vegetable requirement of the lunch pattern.

Is honey better for you than sugar?


Honey is a carbohydrate composed almost entirely of simple sugars -- glucose and fructose. In composition, honey differs only slightly from sugar. The amount present is not worthy of emphasis.



What is the Child Nutrition Department doing to decrease fat and sugar in school menus?


The Child Nutrition Department understands parents' concerns and is continually striving to reduce fat, sodium and sugar in the foods served and has already taken the following steps:

  • Decrease in fat content:
  • Ground beef is rinsed to reduce fat content by 30%.
  • Most foods are oven baked instead of deep fat fried.
  • Low fat 1% and skim milk is offered at all schools.
  • Turkey ham (lower in fat than pork) is purchased.
  • Turkey sausage is served at breakfast.
  • Extra butter is not offered.
  • Vegetables are prepared with no butter.
  • Part-skim mozzarella cheese (lower in fat) is used in some recipes.
  • USDA is purchasing more fish and poultry to distribute as commodities for school districts.
  • Decrease in sugar content
  • Most desserts have been eliminated from the menus. Fruit desserts or cookies are occasionally on the menu.
  • Unsweetened fruit juices are purchased for the breakfast program.
  • Canned fruits in light syrup are purchased, except pear halves.
  • More fresh fruits have been added to our menus.



Why isn't there a statewide (or nationwide) charge set for all paying students?


Because food, labor and other costs vary so greatly throughout the state of Texas, an established charge for all students would not be feasible. In this district, the food service department maintains a self-supporting operation.



How does th


Through the Commodity Food Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service provides food to meet the nutritional needs of children and needy adults. The program has a two-fold purpose:

To aid American farmers by stabilizing farm prices through the purchase of excess agricultural commodities
Improving the nutritional well-being of needy adults and the nation's school children.

Under the current commodity donation system, USDA purchases commodities and arranges for their transportation to designated locations within each state. State distributing agencies are then responsible for storing food, transporting it within the state, and ensuring its distribution to eligible recipients.

In Texas, the Department of Human Services is responsible for the Commodity Food Program. School district food service departments are allocated commodities based on the average daily participation in the National School Lunch Program.

Each food service department must also budget for transportation to the school district,handling and storage costs on a per case basis. So, while commodities are not free, they are still below cost than if purchased on the open market.




Are whole grain breads more nutritious than white bread?


White bread and whole grain breads are not identical. When white flour is milled, the outer bran layer and the germ are separated. The bran is removed because it is coarse in texture, brown in color and has flavor that some people don't like. The germ is taken off because it contains fat. When the fat in the germ turns rancid, the flour is ruined.
The fiber in the bran is lost in white bread. Trace vitamins and minerals found in the bran layers and the wheat germ are not found in white flour. Although nutrients are lost when white flour is milled, white flour is then enriched with B vitamins and iron with calcium and vitamin D as optional ingredients.
But, whether it be enriched white bread or whole grain bread, bread is an essential and inexpensive source of the nutrients needed by our bodies.



In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877.8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632.9992.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632.9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. Fax: (202) 690.7442; or
  3. Email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.