Frequently Asked Questions

Updated August 2014

What is the National School Lunch Program?
What is considered a lunch meal?
Does my child have to take milk?
What alternatives do I have to accommodate my childís need for a fluid milk substitution due to lactose intolerance?
What if my child has a serious allergy to milk? What steps do I take to obtain a diet modification for my child?
What types of changes are being made to provide healthier foods?
Why canít my child have more than one snack item?
Will other students know that my child is receiving free or reduced price meals?
Why are my younger children receiving free or reduced-price meals and my high school children are not?

Why do I pay more for my meal as an adult but the portion sizes arenít any larger?
 

 

Q:  What is the National School Lunch Program?

A:  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 directed USDA to update the National School Lunch Programs meal pattern and nutrition standards based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new meal pattern went into effect at the beginning of school year 2012-13, and increases the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the school menu. New dietary specifications set specific calorie limits to ensure age-appropriate meals for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Other meal enhancements include gradual reductions in the sodium content of the meals. While school lunches must meet Federal meal requirements, decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.

 

For more information regarding the National School Lunch Program please visit the USDA's website at www.fns.usda.gov.

 

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Q:  What is considered a lunch meal?

A:  Students must choose at least three of the five following food items, one must be a fruit or vegetable:

  • 1 meat or meat alternate

  • 1 grain or bread product

  • Choice of up to 3 vegetables or fruits

  • 1 milk

Often, mixed dishes or combination foods are offered that may include two or more food items. For example, a serving of pizza would count for one meat serving and one bread serving. In this case, only one additional item (fruit or vegetable) would be needed to make a meal. A minimum of three items are considered a complete lunch meal. Students who have less than three items will be charged the a la carte prices.

 

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Q:  Does my child have to take milk?

 
A:  We offer 1% low-fat plain and flavored milk, fat-free plain milk, and lactose-free milk.  We encourage students to take milk with their meal because of its nutritional benefits. However, it is not required as a part of the meal.  Our schools participate in Offer vs. Serve, so students can choose not to take milk with their meal as long as they have selected at least three other components of the meal. 


Our schools sell 4 oz fruit juice as a fruit choice, so students may select fruit juice as one of their fruit options. For example, a meat, bread, vegetable, and fruit juice would qualify as a complete lunch meal.  Additionally, cups are available at no extra charge for students who would like to have tap water.
 

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Q: What alternatives do I have to accommodate my childís need for a milk substitution due to lactose intolerance?

 
A: The school division has made available lactose-free milk in half-pint cartons as part of the lunch and breakfast program at no additional charge.  No documentation is needed for a child to make this selection as a beverage.  Also, see the previous question ďDoes my child have to take milk?Ē
 

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Q:  What if my child has a serious allergy to milk? What steps do I take to obtain a meal modification for my child?

 
AIf your child has a disability (such as a milk allergy that causes anaphylaxis) a diet order from a physician is required. These orders from a physician, for disabling conditions, must answer a series of questions in order to be implemented by the school.

The diet order must:
ē Identify the disability,
ē Explain why the disability restricts the childís diet,
ē Address the major life activity affected by the disability,
ē List the food or foods to be omitted from the childís diet and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.

When a child has a disabling allergy to milk, diet orders typically will include all potential sources of milk in the studentís diet, not just fluid milk (i.e., cheese and milk by-products such as casein/whey). Contact the food services department at 365-4566 to get a diet order form or to determine if you need one.
 

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Q:  Why canít my child have more than one snack item?

 

A:  In an effort to promote good eating habits, the purchase of additional a la carte items has been limited. Students may only purchase one snack item at lunch. They may also purchase one beverage in addition to milk. Parents should contact the food service manager at their childís school if they would like to place specific restrictions on their childís account.

 

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Q:  Will other students know that my child is receiving free or reduced price meals?

A:  No, this information is confidential.  Each studentís status is entered into our computer system.  All students have an identification number that they use to purchase their food.  When students pay at the register, they enter their number and the computer adjusts the account automatically.

 

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Q:  Why are my younger children receiving free or reduced-price meals and my high school children are not?

A:  Only the elementary and middle schools in Hanover County participate in the National School Lunch Program.  Assistance for high school students is limited.  If you feel you have a financial need, please contact your childís high school for an application.

 

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Q: Why do I pay more for my meal as an adult but the portion sizes arenít any larger?

 
A: Adult customers pay a higher price for their meals ($2.10 for breakfast and $3.55 for lunch) to cover the true cost of the meal. The food service department does not receive any type of state or federal reimbursement for meals sold to adults.

 

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