October 7, 2003
Meal Planning, Food and Diet, School and Daycare
Question from Paulding, Ohio, USA:
Our school cafeteria people are not dietitians. Should they be giving parents a carb count on the meals that are served? Should the parents be provided with an advance copy of the menus and doing the figuring on their own? Keep in mind, not all of the food contains a nutritional breakdown.
My thoughts on this subject depend upon your situation. I believe I would find out if the values that are being given to you have been figured by a dietitian. If not, I would ask for the information to make my own informed decisions. I believe that the breakdown is available on all packaged foods from the manufacturer even if it is not on the food’s label. There are some considerations other than just the total carb breakdown as you know — especially if it is a high fiber food. I would start with the school principal to ask where you can get more detailed information regarding the foods your child is being served.
Additional comments from James Michael Schurig, RD, LD, CDE:
I would recommend that you ask for menus from the food service manager ahead of time so that decisions can be made ahead of time by you and your child. Most school menus are reviewed by an RD to assure nutritional adequacy. If you stress the importance of receiving accurate nutritional information for your child’s health, most school personnel are understanding.