Ask the Dietitian

Ask the Dietitian

 I keep hearing about the importance of whole grains in  a healthy diet. Do school meals include whole grains? 

A. Yes! In fact, at least half of the grains, cereals
and breads offered in school meal programs must be "whole-grain-rich," meaning they must contain at least 51 % whole- grain meal and/or flour. 

Q. My kids don't really like If whole-wheat bread. Are  there other whole-grain options for them at  lunch?

A. Absolutely. Other breakfast and lunch whole grain items may include foods like:
Tacos and burritos made with corn or whole-wheat tortillas
Whole-wheat pasta dishes
Pizza made with whole-wheat flour
Entrees (such as a stir fry) served over brown rice
White whole-wheat flour is also being used in many products today. It is a whole grain, but is often more appealing to kids because of its mild flavor and light color. 

Q. But I'm not sure my child would eat whole-wheat pasta.  How does it taste?

A. Many cafeterias participate in Aramark's sampling program, called Healthy Bites, where students can sample new menu items while learning a fun food and nutrition fact. The goal is to make foods that may not be familiar to students more appealing by giving them a chance to taste the item, without the pressure of buying an entire meal and not liking it. 
In fact, Aramark has a team of chefs and registered dietitians who work with school cafeteria managers to create whole-grain-rich breakfast and lunch options that are not only nutritious, but taste good to kids. 

Q. Can my kids share their thoughts on certain menu items?

A. Yes! Encourage your child to tell cafeteria staff their likes or dislikes about particular breakfast or lunch offerings. Aramark chefs also look to students' input through surveys and focus groups where students are able to taste and provide feedback on what they like and don't like about certain menu items. 
As a parent, you can always talk to your school's cafeteria manager to find out what's new on the menu and if they have a sampling program. 

Since everyone's health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about a diet and exercise plan that's right for you. visit