A new twist on the traditional style elementary school lunch has left many parents in Horry County, South Carolina, concerned as to whether their children are receiving the right nutrients.
Last week, the Horry County Elementary School served a box lunch to students that included crackers, milk, a mozzarella stick, yogurt and a vegetable. Notably missing, however, was a sandwich.
Some parents took to Facebook to voice their displeasure, calling the meal a “snack” and questioning what happened to traditional meals.
Laura Farmer, Director of Food Services with Horry County Schools, however, maintains that “this is a complete meal.”
Farmer said that this particular meal was not the district’s normal lunch option, noting that the lunch “usually comes with a sandwich, but as we took one day out of the week we have chosen to do a meat alternative meal.”
“We are trying to test what would work best with the students to see what they will eat,” Farmer said, adding that new regulations this year on sodium intake have placed even more limitations on student lunches. “We had to put some weird combinations together just to meet the calorie limits.”
And, contrary to the Facebook comments, Farmer said that the “alternative protein meals” are working. In fact, she said that the sandwich-free meal was “one of the most favorite meals of the box lunches” last week.
As WSPA reports, each menu item is nutritionally analyzed according to federal regulations.
Farmer said that while the meal without the sandwich provided the students with what they need, the menu did present another option; in fact, two menu options are served each day.
On the day of the “alternative protein meal,” the other option was a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich.
“It’s the children who are choosing the box lunches over the hot meals,” Farmer said. “We still have the hot meals, the hot entrees, and the vegetables, and the students can choose more items if they want to.”