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Summary of school meal standards

The nutrition standards for meal planning that the document includes are the following:

Cereals and starchy vegetables
  • Serve at least one starchy food every day.
  • Bake French fries only and do not use French fries that contain trans-fat.
  • Serve peas or beans with rice at least once per week. Other options may include pumpkin, okras, vegetables, corn.
  • All foods must be prepared without salt pork, salt beef, bacon or coconut milk/oil.
  • Grits may be substituted for rice, if preferred.
  • Pasta dishes may be served as a starch choice or main dish.
  • Do not add butter or margarine in the preparation of macaroni and cheese; this dish can be served once per week.
  • Do not use or add the fatty part of meat when preparing or cooking starchy foods such as peas and rice.
  • Root vegetables such as potato, cassava, yam and pumpkin, plantain and other boils may be served as a starch choice.
  • Potato preparation method options include boiling, broiling, grilling, mashing or using in salads.
  • Serve at least one serving of fresh fruit every day.
  • As often as possible, include all available native Bahamian fruit in the selection of
    fresh fruits served.
  • Canned fruits, in light syrup, in their own juice or in other fruit juice, may be served
    as alternatives to fresh fruits.
  • Do not use fruit products with added sugars in the ingredient list.
  • Dried fruits like raisins may also be served.
  • Provide at least one serving of fresh or frozen vegetables every day.
  • Always serve another vegetable (non-starchy) when corn is served. Corn is a starchy vegetable.
  • Soups and other main course dishes must contain a minimum of one serving (½ cup non leafy, 1 cup leafy) of vegetables.
  • Do not prepare or cook vegetable soups with bacon, ham, or leftover fat.
  • Do not use vegetable products with hydrogenated fats (trans fats) or partially hydrogenated fats in the ingredients list.
Meats and dairy
  • Provide at least one serving from this group every day.
  • Bake, roast, grill, broil or boil all meats and poultry. No fried meats are allowed, except for fish.
  • Serve fish at least once per week. Do not serve fish with bones in the primary schools.
  • Red meat can only be served two times per week.
  • Only gravy formed from the meats during cooking can be served. No additional fat must be added to the gravy.
  • Do not serve fatty meats such as sausage, salami and bologna at any time.
  • Serve only low fat dairy foods such as 2% milk or fat free cheese.
  • Cheese may be offered as a substitute for meat, poultry or fish.
Beans and peas
  • Offer at least one serving from this food group every day.
  • Cheese may be offered as a substitute for meat in the fish/poultry/meat/meat alternative group.
Fats and oils
  • Do not use leftover fats or drippings to prepare foods, especially when frying.
  • If oil is needed in the preparation of foods, use small amounts of vegetable oil.
  • As far as possible, use low fat salad dressing and mayonnaise.
  • Choose oils, dressings and spreads containing monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats (found in olive, peanut, canola and sunflower oil).
  • Do not use products that list saturated fats, trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats at the beginning of the list of ingredients.
  • To prevent food infections and food poisoning, salads such as coleslaw and tossed salad must not be prepared with mayonnaise. Instead, the mayonnaise/salad dressing must be packaged or placed in a small container for the students to add to the salad themselves.
  • Cheese may be offered as a substitute for meat, poultry or fish.
Sweets, sugars and salt
  • Cake (no frosting, icing or sticky, sugary fillings), cookies (no icings, frosting or chocolate chips) and pastries (no icing, frosting, or sticky, sugary filling) can be served.
  • Fruit-based or low-fat desserts are permitted twice per week.
  • Absolutely no candy, chewing gum, toffee, chocolate, sodas, potato chips, cheese curls and cheese doodles can be served.
Foods of minimal nutritional value

The following items are prohibited from being sold on the school campus at all times:

  • Candies
  • Cheese-flavoured puffed corn snacks
  • Chewing gum
  • Chips
  • Chocolate bars, including those with fruit and nuts and cereal bars covered with chocolate.
  • “Cups”/ “Baggies”: Kool-Aid-based beverages that have been put into sanitary cups and plastic bags and allowed to freeze
  • Fruit-flavoured drinks such as flavoured water, sweetened drinks, beverages and punch, frozen “icicles” not made from 100% juices
  • All carbonated beverages (no product shall be excluded from this definition because it contains discrete nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fruit flavour)

Lunch vendors are not allowed to sell 100% fruit juices or any other beverages, as juice and beverages are sold by the tuck shop.

Food items that can be sold by tuck shops
  • 100% juice (no sugar added)
  • 2% fat milk
  • Chocolate milk (not drink)
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Fresh fruit (at break time)
  • Hot patties: chicken and veggie (prepared without trans fat)
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Ice-cream
  • Breakfast foods (where sold): grits or toast with tuna, sardines, mackerel, eggs or breakfast cereals (no sugar added)
  • Sandwiches (made with whole wheat bread): tuna, egg, cheese and turkey