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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a message for families:  Your child's school cafeteria is a great source of nutritious meals! Check out the letter issued today.

Dear Parent, Guardian:

Your child’s school day just got healthier! School lunches now include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain-rich foods; only fat-free or low-fat milk; “right-size” meals with portions designed for a child’s age; and less saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.  The changes in school meals, the first in 15 years, are based on the latest nutritional guidelines.

Here are some important facts about the new school meals:

  • The new school lunch provides 1/3 of the average daily calorie needs for kids by age.

  • Some highly active students, like athletes, may need more calories. Some schools may offer second helpings of fruits and vegetables.  A second carton of milk may also be an option. Schools can also operate after-school snack and supper programs.  Students and/or sports teams can also bring food from home.

  • In practice, many students are being served the same amounts of protein as before under the new standards.

Your child can learn good habits for life by making healthy food choices and getting proper exercise now. This year is a transition year as schools implement these new standards and work together with parents, to ensure that every child, in every community across America, has access to healthy and nutritious meals.  Encourage them to try new foods and eat the healthy food offered.  Reinforce healthy eating by offering similar new foods at home.

Keep updated on the changes at www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday.


Tinnel wins ChoppedBring out the Sharpies, Maxwell Elementary has a star on its staff! Cafeteria Manager Cynthia Tinnel proved her incredible skills in the kitchen on the hit reality show "Chopped." Tinnel out-cooked three other school cafeteria managers, taking home $10,000. She also gave the nation a small taste of what it's like to cook for hundreds of students each day. 

Way to go, Cynthia!


The first day of school, Aug. 1, is fast approaching and Metro Schools’ Nutrition Services Department is hard at work preparing for next year. One of its tasks this summer is spreading the word about important changes in USDA rules that will affect all Metro Schools’ students who participate in the Meal Benefits (free/reduced lunch and breakfast) program.

Starting this year, students who are on the Meal Benefits program must take certain items for the meal to qualify as a free or reduced meal. A lunch meal consist of one meat/meat alternate, one serving of vegetables, one serving of fruit, one serving of grain and milk. A breakfast meal consists of one fruit, one grain and milk. If a student does not take all required items, the student will be charged at the à la carte rate for the meal. Café employees will encourage students to take all the required items; however, families should also make sure their children are aware of this change to prevent from incurring charges.

School meals are a great value and a huge convenience for busy families! Children need healthy meals to learn. Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools offers healthy meals at every school every day. Breakfast costs $1.25 for elementary, middle and high schools and lunch costs $2.25 for elementary and $2.50 for middle and high schools. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals which cost $ .30 for breakfast and $ .40 for lunch. A lunch meal consist of 1 meat/meat alternate, 1 serving of vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, 1 serving of grain and milk. A breakfast meal consists of 1 fruit, 1 grain, and milk.

More information for the new year is available in our Back to School Guide.


A school of fish swam its way into Mt. View Elementary’ s cafeteria! The school is using Pepperidge Farms fish bread to promote healthy choices and eating at school during TCAP testing. Check out the pictures of the healthy lunches MNPS students are enjoying.

Mt View Fish Lunches

Mt View Fish Lunches

Mt View Fish Lunches

Mt View Fish Lunches


Nutritious meals are essential to student productivity. All Metro schools offer breakfast and lunch to every student every school day. We believe no student should be denied nutritious meals and offer both temporary and long-term solutions for students unable to pay for their meals.

For students and families unable to regularly meet the cost, we offer free and reduced priced meals. For students who occasionally may forget their lunch money, we allow meals to be charged with the expectation that the debt will be paid promptly.

This expectation is not always met, leaving uncollected debts in our cafeterias – something prohibited by Federal regulations. Because of this, we will no longer allow high school students to charge meals in school cafeterias, effective February 20, 2012.

Free and reduced price meals are still available for all families who qualify.

To learn more about how to apply for meal assistance, click here.

To see the nutritious options available in our school cafeterias, click here.

For other languages, click here.


Nutrition Services - Healthy meals at every school, every day.Congratulations to seventeen of our school for winning the USDA's Healthier U.S. School Challenge Award! The HUSSC Award is given to schools across the country for exemplary steps, leadership and team work used to make changes to the schools’ nutrition environment. This includes the quality of the foods served; the offering of more nutritious, healthier choices; and, enhancing their physical activity program.

Awards are given broze, silver, and gold. Winning schools receive a HUSSC award plaque, a banner to display, and a small monetary incentive award of $500 to $2000. The names of these schools are also added to the HUSSC awardees list on the Team Nutrition HUSSC website.

Here are the winners:

  • Glenview Elementary School (Gold)

  • Bordeaux Enhanced Option Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Cole Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Harpeth Valley Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Haywood Elementary School (Bronze)

  • I.T. Cresswell Arts Magnet (Bronze)

  • John F. Kennedy Middle School (Bronze)

  • Jones Paideia Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Lakeview Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Lockeland Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Margaret Allen Middle School (Bronze)

  • McGavock Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Pennington Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Rosebank Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Ross Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Shwab Elementary School (Bronze)

  • Stanford Elementary School (Bronze)

Congratulations to you all!!


It's National School Lunch Week (NSLW) and this year's theme is Let's Grow Healthy! Schools across the U.S., including those right here in Metro Nashville, are encouraged to promote School Lunch Week Logo 2011 - a full color logo promoting National School Lunch Weekhealthy eating and physical activity to students, staff and the community. The hope is that students will gain a better understanding of where their food comes from and get excited about healthy school lunch choices.

In Metro Schools, much attention has been placed on creating healthier school menu choices for students. This year, 10 schools are piloting in-line salad bars and scratch-cooking. All schools are offering students healthier, and tasty, menu options that replace unhealthy ingredients with healthier options. Schools are also experimenting with healthier ethnic foods and various other options that are creating much healthier menu options for students.


Check out an excerpt from the National School Lunch Week news release below:

Serving more than 31 million children every school day, the federally-funded National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals.  The program, which has been serving the nation's children for over 60 years, requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards.

  • Meals are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, meaning they contain no more than 30% of calories from fat, and less than 10% from saturated fat.

  • School lunches include fruits and vegetables, grains and proteins as well as milk, and they must provide one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.

  • Meals are served in age-appropriate serving sizes meaning you get the amount of food that your body needs!

The “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” campaign is sponsored by the non-profit School Nutrition Association and the Milk Processors Education Program (MilkPEP) to highlight all the components of well balanced school meals.  The campaign features fun activity sheets and parent handouts.

For more information about healthy school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org .



School may not be in session, but MNPS Food Services hasn’t slowed a bit. Thanks to a Healthways Foundation grant awarded to a community partnership between MNPS, Alignment Nashville, and Community Food Advocates of Nashville, the department is working on several initiatives that will increase healthy options for students when they return this August.


A major component of the grant is professional development for the district’s food service employees. Roughly 20 cafeteria managers attended the national School Nutrition Conference held earlier this month in Nashville. But Nashville wasn’t just represented in the audience. Chef David Owens, Kathy Wantland and MNPS Food Services Coordinator Deborah Walker served as the spokespersons during the demonstrations in the national Culinary Demonstration. Additionally, Walker sat on the Coordinated School Health Panel discussion along with Gina Proffitt, MNPS’s Coordinated School Health Coordinator, and Karren Stacey, Cafeteria Manager from Cockrill Elementary. The group shared their success stories of the past year with other school-based food service employees from around the nation.

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