Common Questions and Answers
Schools meals of today are much different from the old days. Mention “school lunch” to anyone and your are likely to hear opinions and probably myths from long ago. Some of the most common questions are listed below, and you can contact us to submit a specific question.
I heard that schools can't serve chocolate milk any more. Is that true?
Chocolate milk is very popular with students and adults, and an excellent source of calcium and other important nutrients. All our cafeterias offer chocolate milk every day. Once a month, strawberry flavored milk is served. Both the chocolate and strawberry milks are specially formulated for schools, and are a low sugar and fat-free version not available in grocery stores.
Our family qualifies for free meals. Can my student get free milk on the days that they bring lunch form home?
No. Free status only applies to the school meal as a whole. If a student brings lunch from home, they must pay for a carton of milk.
Can my student get an extra carton of milk with their meal?
My child wants to eat breakfast at school. How do I find out more?
Breakfast is available at most LPS sites. Refer to your school handbook/calendar or check with the school office. Eating breakfast has been shown to boost academic performance, improve classroom behavior, and reduce absenteeism.
Why does the breakfast menu have pre-made items?
Too many children start their school day on an empty stomach. Our cafeterias have always offered traditional breakfast choices, but hectic family schedules and the short time students have to eat before school begins has led a number of LPS departments to consider alternate methods of breakfast delivery. These may include grab and go, breakfast after the bell, and breakfast in the classroom plans. Quick service of safe food is an essential part of ensuring all students have access to breakfast. Packaged items are portable, portion controlled, and safe from contamination.
My child is so picky, will they be forced to try foods?
Our breakfast and lunch menus offer many choices. Lunch always includes at least four entree choices, two fruit choices, two vegetable choices, and three different types of milk. Students can pick and choose the items that they want. Students are never made to taste or finish foods.
I was surprised to see pizza and nachos on the school menu. Why do you serve these fast food items?
School meals are an economic, convenient way to ensure that your student is nourished and ready to learn. We acknowledge current food trends as well as foods popular with different age groups. Yes, the school menu features nachos, pizza, and other kid favorites, but these are prepared with specially formulated recipes and products made to meet strict school nutrition guidelines. All entrees must meet USDA guidelines for reduced fat and sodium. Standards also mandate the use of whole grain, nutrient and fiber-rich ingredients, as well as sufficient amounts of protein in all entrees. Even the Pizza Hut pizza available in high schools is a special recipe made only for schools.
Why do you sell chips and other snacks?
Any snack or beverage sold must meet strict “Smart Snack” criteria outlined by the USDA. We sell popular, but modified versions of well known snacks and beverages. All items are special healthy formulations of popular brands, which are lower in fat, sugar, calories, and sodium, and made with whole grains.
My high school athlete complains that they don't get enough to eat, why can't they get bigger portions?
We follow strict USDA guidelines that ensure each school lunch contains a variety of healthy foods. These guidelines also require that meals provide a specific range of calories, depending on the grade of the student:
- Elementary: 550-650 calories
- Middle School: 600-700 calories
- High School: 750-850 calories
USDA rules also prohibit preferential or discriminatory treatment. Keep in mind when the school day ends, it has likely been three or more hours since lunch. At this point in the day, all students, regardless of age or participation in athletics, will be hungry. Athletes need extra calories to fuel performance and to support their growing bodies. They may want to stock their backpacks with snacks from home, or plan to purchase extra items in the cafeteria.
Our family eats a vegetarian diet. Can LPS make my child a vegetarian meal?
Yes. We recognize and value the diversity of our students and their nutritional needs. Every day the LPS menu includes several vegetarian (meatless) choices for all grade levels of students. We understand there are some that cannot consume certain menu items offered in our cafeterias, and we offer daily information about our foods so parents can make decisions and guide their child on meal selections. Our menu includes two meatless entrees every day – one of them plant-based and the other a meatless option containing cheese. The cheese we use (American, cheddar and mozzarella) may be made with either microbial and/or animal-derived sources. These are the same enzymes found in standard cheese sold in grocery stores. If a family prefers non-standard cheese, or perhaps vegetarian cheese as a substitute, we recommend the student choose the plant-based entree option. We will continue to label any entrees that contain pork or beef, such as pork sandwiches, pepperoni pizza, sausage links or gelatin salad. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact LPS Nutrition Services at 402-436-1747. Bilingual Liaisons are also available to assist with communication on preferences
My child doesn't like/can't drink milk. Is there anything else available to drink?
Water is available in all lunchrooms, free of charge, and secondary schools also sell bottled water and other beverages. If your student wants or needs a milk substitute, please refer to our Special Diets section for more information.
Our family eats only organic foods, and chooses to follow a special diet. Can LPS make my child an organic special meal?
The cost of organic prevents us from being able to offer organic foods and meals. Other than meatless entrees, LPS does not provide special food modifications that are made for personal, religious, or moral beliefs. Please refer to our Special Diets page for more information and contact information for our dietitians.
Can the school provide special foods for my child with allergies?
If your student follows a special diet prescribed by your health care provider, please refer to our Special Diets page for more information and contact information for our dietitians.