Round Rock ISD’s chosen nutrition education programs are CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), HUSSC (HealthierUS School Challenge) and Farm to School.
Food Services supports the district in promoting and extending the reach of these important programs through our menu offerings, participation in school and community events, and communication outreach.
CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) is a Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved Coordinated School Health Program designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices, and prevent tobacco use in elementary school aged children. By teaching children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be FUN, the CATCH Program has proved that establishing healthy habits in childhood can promote behavior change that carry into adulthood.
Round Rock ISD Food Services participates in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) which aligns with the CATCH initiatives to serve school meals that reconcile with the latest in nutrition science.
We assist the district in promoting the CATCH initiative by:
- Continuing to improving the nutritional quality of school meals by promoting the consumption of more GO foods than SLOW foods and more SLOW foods than WHOA foods. We have GO/SLOW/WHOA signage in our cafeterias and encourage healthy choices on our menus.
- Ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week. Each school year we serve over 574,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables to RRISD students.
- We serve only whole grains.
- We bake, never fry our foods.
- Lean proteins, including 100% white meat chicken.
- Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt varieties.
- Reduce the amounts of saturated fat and sodium and don’t serve items with trans-fat.
- Don’t sell or serve soda on campuses.
- Limit calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size.
- Engage and share the CATCH messaging; participate in community and CATCH Family Events and encourage families to eat healthy and be active together.
The goal of HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms is to improve the health of the Nation’s children by promoting healthier school environments. HUSSC voluntary certification program recognizes schools that emphasize lifetime healthy habits by improving the quality of foods served, providing nutrition education and providing opportunities for physical activity. HealthierUS Schools:
- meet the HUSSC criteria throughout a four year period,
- meet all NSLP requirements,
- serve reimbursable meals that reflect good menu planning,
- plan meals that emphasize healthy food choices, and
- ensure every student can select a meal that meets HUSSC criteria.
RRISD schools are HUSSC, Smarter Lunchroom award winners. The districts commitment to the CATCH curriculum and participation in the NSBP and NSLP, our schools meet the criteria to be HUSSC award winners.
Food Services exceed HUSSC standards by:
- Offering a variety of vegetables that are dark-green, red-orange and that include beans and peas.
- Offering fresh and canned fruit, packed in 100% juice or water, every day.
- Serving only 100% juices.
- We serve 100% whole grain.
- We have an on staff Chef who creates and tests recipes, trains our food services staff, provides cooking and food preparation demos.
- We scratch cook in our central kitchens and then prepare food fresh for service daily.
- We serve only low-sodium cheeses.
- We bake, not fry our foods.
- We’re salt savvy and cut back on sodium, limit saturated fat and don’t serve items with trans fat.
- Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt varieties.
- Serving selected quality brand name food products that meet school nutrition standards from; Tyson, Newman’s Own, Pillsbury, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Barilla, Land O’ Lakes, Smucker’s, Bush’s, Butterball and Foster Farms.
- Our team of Dieticians publish a quarterly newsletter designed to provide an expert channel for district wellness educators to remain informed about the most up to date discoveries in nutritional science. Other content includes fresh age appropriate ideas, setting our students up for success as they grow up healthy.The Healthy for Life program is also a tool for students to help make informed entrée decisions. We use small icons next to the listed entrée on the menu to identify vegetarian options and locally grown produce. Each day at least one vegetarian option is offered. Vegetarian entrees make up about 15% -30% of our offered entrees each month.
In each one of our Cafés we display the “My Plate” sign. MyPlate is part of a larger communication initiative based on a 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices. The USDA asks us to display the sign to remind students to eat healthfully. MyPlate illustrates the five food groups providing emphasis on making at least half the plate fruits and vegetables.
At each campus we offer and encourage students to try new foods. For our K-5 campuses we host “Taste it Tuesday.” On “Taste it Tuesday” we sample a nutritious item to every student who is interested in discovering a new healthy food favorite; such as blood oranges, edamame, sugar snap peas, hummus, radishes and more. It’s our way of encouraging students to try new foods. We invite you to come to a “Taste it Tuesday” event or for any other meal service. Our Café’s are always open to family members who wish to join their child during one of our meal services. Check your menu for the next “Taste it Tuesday” event.
At our secondary schools we frequently offer a “healthy bite” sample of new entrees, providing the opportunity for students to try before they buy. If we aren’t offering samples on a day your student would like to try something before buying, please encourage them to inquire with the Café Manager.
Farm to School
Farm to school programs improve school nutrition by connecting Texas schools with local producers. Incorporating locally grown products into healthy school meals benefits Texas students and the businesses of Texas farmers, ranchers and other producers. Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) seeks to introduce students to fresh and nutritious, locally grown food and establish Texas as a national leader in state farm-to-school programs.
TDA’s statewide Farm to School initiative currently focuses on increasing the amount of local food products served in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. TDA’s statewide Farm to School initiatives support Texas schools seeking to:
- incorporate more local products into school meals
- incorporate nutrition education into classroom lessons
- connect students with local producers
- create and/or maintain a school garden
TDA local product challenges
Each year, TDA challenges schools to use more Texas products in meals served during National School Breakfast week, recognized in March and National School Lunch Week, held in October. Consistently, Round Rock ISD Food Services has been acknowledged with Certificates of Achievement for procuring locally produced milk, produce and wheat flour.
Studies have shown that school gardens can expand a student’s knowledge and willingness to try healthy foods.
For campuses that are interested in starting their own school garden Food Services has developed a district School Garden Guide Book. The guide book is intended to serve as a resource for your school in determining steps to get started, who to approach for funding and share success stories.
After you have achieved your gardening goals Food Services can assist in procuring the same type(s) of produce that is harvested from the garden but meets the volume and food safety requirements to be served in the school’s cafeteria for everyone to enjoy.
If you would like to request a tour of your school kitchen please contact your Café manager. If you are a parent or RRISD district employee and are interested in touring our central kitchens, please call our office at 512-464-8382.