Student Opportunity Gaps

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act Effective This Year

By September 7, 2012 No Comments

HHFKA (Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act) was adopted by Congress in December 2010 and takes effect with this school year. MREA dug into the new federal act to give you an inside look at the details and how to implement it. Read about the politics of the law.

Details of the Law 

  1.  The meal patterns are federally mandated.  States have no authority to modify them.
  2. The Federal meal reimbursement increased $.06 per meal to address cost increases of HHFKA.
  3. The calories per meal this year are pretty much the same as last year’s meal pattern.
  4. There are specific daily and weekly minimum portion sizes with regards to the fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and milk.  In addition, there are weekly ceilings for grains and meats.
    View the detailed dietary specifications and standards.
    Get the USDA Food Service Guidelines.
    Here’s a look:

    • Last year, a 12th grader was required to be offered 1 cup of fruit and/or vegetable.  This year, 1 cup of fruit plus 1 cup of vegetable must be offered – double the amount.
    • The amount of bread/grain servings has indeed been reduced.  For a 12th grader, it reduced from 15 servings per week to 12.
    • The amount of meat/meat alternate has indeed been “capped” at 12oz per week.  That means a daily average serving is about 2.4oz.  However, some days a serving could be 2oz and some days it could be 3oz.  Last year, the minimum daily requirement was 2 oz, with no ceiling.
  5. Currently student athletes can get additional calories or nutrient supplements from the school’s a la carte items at school.  There are no limitations on a la carte, but see note below on politics.

Implementation & Training
The key to successful implementation of the law is TRAINING for school districts’ cook/managers on menu planning, portion sizes, requirements of what food types need to be on students’ trays, and working with your suppliers on the proper sizing of meat and grain products. Contact Deb Lukkonen, MDE Supervisor of School Nutrition Programs, for technical questions or to arrange training. She can be reached at 651-582-8228 or contact MREA to arrange training in your area.

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