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Food Service Component

Welcome to the Pathways school food service program!
In this program you will be putting into practice ways to lower fat in the school meals you serve. This will provide healthier meals to the students and staff. The guidelines and techniques recommended here, called ‘Behavioral Guidelines’, have been successfully implemented by school food service staff in over 20 schools. The materials will help your school or district prepare and serve good-tasting, low-fat meals popular with students.

Download the School Food Service Procedures Manual [PDF] (769kb)

What is the Pathways School Food Service Program?

It is a food service program developed as part of the Pathways project designed to prevent obesity among American Indian schoolchildren. Here are some of the highlights of the food service component:

  • Training sessions – ‘hands on’ activities can be used at the district or individual school level
  • A simple tracking system of kitchen visits to monitor the progress on the Behavioral Guidelines
  • Integrated with the classroom curriculum and family component of Pathways

What are the benefits of this program to my school food service operation?

  • Helps to meet current USDA guidelines
  • Promotes low-fat meals
  • Serves as a model for healthful meals for students and staff
  • Is extremely flexible, easy to implement and can be adapted to your kitchen
  • Emphasizes hands-on activities and skills that can be put in to practice immediately

You can feel confident in putting this program into practice because it has been developed with input with school food service personnel from the seven Native American nations and has been extensively evaluated and found to be successful.

Implementing the Pathways Food Service in your school

In Pathways you will be implementing the Pathways Behavioral Guidelines with the goals to:

  • Lower the fat in your school meals.
  • Serve even tastier school meals for your students.

Here are some pointers on implementing Pathways:

- Assess your school or district menu by checking where there may be added fat in the food:

  • whole milk
  • ground meat that isn’t drained and rinsed
  • higher fat main dishes
  • higher fat salad dressings
  • butter or margarine on the serving line
  • added fat on breads and vegetables
  • added fat in gravies

- Review school policies on food ordering that can affect the amount of fat in school meals such as:

  • amount of fat in milk
  • type of entrees
  • district policies on seconds in school meals

- Get all the food service personnel involved in Pathways from the beginning letting them add additional new ideas and activities on lowering the fat in the school.

- Review the Pathways Behavioral Guidelines. Determine which ones you are already using and those you need to focus on.

Download the Food Service Posters [PDF] (132kb)

Tips on implementing each of the Behavioral Guidelines

- Offer fat free (skim) or lowfat (1%) milk

  • try the Smart Choice activity, it has been very successful
  • make changes of milk choices at the beginning of the school year; i.e., offer only 2% milk and 1% at the beginning year and then the next year only 1% and skim

- Cook, drain and rinse ground meat

  • show the 'rinsing and draining ground beef' video to all food service personnel and then try in your school
  • use the draining and rinsing poster as a step by step guide

- Purchase lower-fat vendor products

  • request samples from the vendor to taste testing new entrees that are 12 grams of fat or less
  • make changes in your entrees slowly but regularly

- Use lower-fat cheese

  • use the posters and activities

- Use less of no butter and other fat when you cook

- Use appropriate service sizes for all menu items

  • use the posters

- Remove butter and other fats from serving line

  • start this procedure at the beginning of the school year
  • the students hardly notice (the staff might comment but you can get their support)

- Offer choices of fruits and vegetables

  • the only additional cost is that more students take fruits and vegetables and are more likely to eat them
  • use more commodity fruits and vegetables

- If seconds are served, offer only fruit, vegetables, bread, and skim or 1% milk

  • review district policies on seconds
  • students can be satisfied with more fruits and vegetables