Frequently Asked Questions - Menu Items

Can you tell me more about the fresh fruits and vegetables you offer?

We offer a variety fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the week. School Gardens are growing in more and more of our schools, and schools can incorporate those items grown into the school cafeteria. We also utilize lots of fresh produce from Local Farms including Lipman Farms from Estero!

How often are salads offered to students?

All of our Secondary Schools have entrée salads available every day. All Elementary Schools now offer entrée salads at least twice a week but many have them available all week long! Also, side tossed salads are offered with every meal Tuesday-Friday.

How many of the items on the menu are fried?

We do not have any fried items on our menu. Over 10 years ago, we removed all fryers from every kitchen in our schools. All of our items are either steamed, baked, or boiled. Some of our entrees and vegetables may have names that sound like they are fried, but we assure you there is no way they can be fried. Our regulations prevent the use of fryers and high-fat cooking methods.

Can you tell me more about the breakfast and carbohydrate regulations?

There are no USDA regulations that restrict the amount of carbohydrates that can be offered at breakfast. However, The School District of Lee County's Food and Nutrition Services goes above and beyond to ensure that every breakfast consists of a grain and a protein item. All of our grain items, including cereals and breakfast breads, are whole-grain, low-sugar items that consists of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates stay with the body longer helping students feel full and satisfied to focus on their schoolwork and tasks at hand.

What types of snacks and beverages are available to purchase?

All of our food and beverage items sold to students must meet the USDA Smart Snack in School regulations. This means that our items are either whole grain, low-sugar, have a fruit or vegetable as their first ingredient, low-fat, or a combination of those requirements. We offer popular brand name items for sale but please note that those items are the Smart Snack versions of what you would see in the store. In fact, those items are so specialized to school nutrition needs and cannot be found anywhere but in the schools, not even in your local grocery store!

How many of the menu items are pre-packaged and microwaved?

None of our items are microwaved. Food and Nutrition Services prohibits the use of microwaves for any student meal items. We are incorporating more and more scratch cooking on our menus and always strive to offer the highest quality foods to our students. We do utilize some pre-packaged items at breakfast service time, but this is so that we can feed large numbers of students in a timely and efficient manner. Some of our schools offer Breakfast in the Classroom and need breakfast items that can be carried easily by students. Furthermore, even though these items come in safe packages, they contain little to no preservatives. This is because our items are flash frozen at time of production and do not need preservatives in them.

What kind of vegetarian options are available?

We are bringing back our Lean and Green Fridays! Lean and Green Fridays offer meatless entrée options at all grade levels and now include plant-based protein options. We currently offer entrée salads throughout the week but there are other vegetarian options available to students daily. We have a vegetarian burrito that is delicious and an all-around kid favorite. We also have our peanut-free take on the traditional Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich called the WOW Sandwich. The WOW Sandwich is a soy butter and jelly sandwich, so students get the familiar sandwich they love loaded with protein but not the allergy risk!

If my child has an allergy, what can the school district do to provide them a meal?

The School District of Lee County's Food and Nutrition Services has an extensive allergy management program in place to help provide meals to all students with allergy concerns. First, we need a medical physician's note or prescription stating what the allergy is and what items need to be restricted or substituted to meet the child's need. Then our team of dietitians and nurses work together to provide food safely from the school's kitchen to the child. We frequently work with Celiac's Disease, Gluten Sensitivities, Soy Free, and Dairy Free diets and can provide healthy meals to students with these conditions. Please contact Food and Nutrition Services for more information.

My child indicates sometimes cooked chicken items appear pink on the inside. Are they safe to eat?

Food and Nutrition Services does not purchase raw chicken products for any student consumption. The chicken items we purchase are precooked and have been cooked by the manufacturer to the proper required internal temperature. These manufacturers are regularly monitored for compliance. For additional customer safety we require that all precooked chicken items must be rewarmed to a minimum of 165 degrees prior to service. USDA states cooked poultry items can have a pink tint due to various reasons but are safe to eat as soon as all parts reach 165 degrees as measured with a food thermometer.