- Courtesy D-11
- D-11's budget is $1.09 per meal, in line with the county jail's $1.01 to $1.26 per meal.
School food has gotten a bad rap over the years, with some recalling hamburgers so hard they could serve as hockey pucks.
Things appear to have improved considerably, a feat considering school nutritionists seem to have a harder job on their hands than some jails, because they must provide meals for three grade levels: kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grades, and high schoolers.
Lunch programs are shaped by mandates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Department of Education, which require students at certain grade levels to be served a minimum number of calories. Also, selections from the different food groups are required.
Here's a look at the program at Colorado Springs School District 11, the region's largest district, where officials have "worked very hard to be a pioneer of healthy, scratch-made meals, long before many legal requirements existed," says D-11 spokesperson Devra Ashby.
The district provides different meals for the three grade levels, serving breakfast and lunch at most schools, and an after-school supper program at Adams Elementary, Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy Middle School and at Roy J. Wasson Academic Campus.
For breakfast, K-5 students are to be offered 350 to 500 calories; grades 6-8, 400 to 550; and grades 9-12, 450 to 600. Calories are to be delivered via fruit, meat, grains and milk.
A typical breakfast for K-5 would be cheesy eggs with toast and jelly, or a sausage and pancake sandwich, with juice and diced peaches. Middle and high school students would be served a cinnamon roll with fresh fruit, or a biscuit with sausage gravy and hashbrowns, with juice.
Lunch caloric requirements are K-5, 550 to 650; grades 6-8, 600 to 700, and high school students, 750 to 850. Foods should include fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and milk.
For lunch, kindergartners through eighth-grade students are served a hamburger or pepperoni wrap or a sloppy joe, depending on the day, with diced peaches, fruit and veggies, milk and bottled water.
High school kids are offered teriyaki chicken, sub sandwiches, hamburgers, pasta or pizza, depending on the day, with fruit and veggies, milk or water.
A K-5 student who eats breakfast and lunch in a D-11 cafeteria would be guaranteed 900 to 1,150 calories; a middle schooler, 1,200 to 1,250 calories; and a high schooler, 1,200 to 1,450 calories.