Comparison of cost of current school lunch menus with school lunch menus revised to meet USDA nutrient guidelines




Gardiner, Lynn

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The purpose of this study was to compare the nutrient content and cost of current school lunches with school lunch menus revised according to the Nutrient Standard Planning Guidelines proposed by the USDA for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Menus were obtained from a selected elementary school for September, 1994. School lunches selected by the students exceeded 1/3 of RDAs for all nutrients. Sodium and saturated fat for nonrevised menus were in excess of the recommended amounts for school lunch. Dietary fiber was less than five grams per lunch. School lunch menus were revised by the investigator to lower total fat, saturated fat, and sodium and to increase dietary fiber. The cost for the revised meals was significantly higher (p>0.05) than the popular choice meals. It appears that the increase in food cost occurs concomitantly with increased serving of fruits and vegetables.