Ahead of a change to the federal guidelines on school nutrition set to take effect July 1, the Brick Board of Education has taken the first step in changing its nutrition and wellness policy to be in line with the national law.
Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, the new guidelines favor more fruits and vegetables and discourage meats and cheeses from being served in schools. Brick's policy is already in line with the vast majority of the guidelines, with the only required change being in the milk department: milk now must be 1 percent or less, and all flavored milk must be skim milk.
Whole milk has not been served for some time in schools.
The board approved the slight change to the policy on milk at its June 21 meeting.
The policy also encourages school-related organizations to sell foods that are in compliance with the overall wellness policy, though they are not required to follow it.
Some board members, as well as parents, worried that athletic snack stand staples such as hot dogs could be banned, but district Business Administrator James Edwards said that wasn't the case.
"We're not going to police them and tell them that they can't sell a hot dog, but we're going to encourage through our policy that they sell healthy, nutritional items," said Edwards.
Interestingly, one of the farthest-reaching – and potentially overlooked – ramifications of being within nutritional guidelines hits culinary arts classrooms where it hurts: in the sweet tooth.
Students in those classes are allowed to make delicious dishes such as cakes and pastries, but they are not able to share with their classmates.
Edwards confirmed students are allowed to make such foods, but not consume them.
"It's teaching them the right thing to eat, but it's going to make it much more difficult," Edwards said.
Though some of the items listed in the board's wellness policy could surprise some parents, it's nothing new. Besides the change in what type of milk can be served, the wellness policy has been in place for some time.
"It's an existing district policy," Edwards said.