The Nutrition Services Branch, in cooperation with site principals, operates school breakfast, lunch, after school snack and at-risk supper programs throughout the District. The programs are self-supporting and do not require financial support from the District’s general fund. More than 500 permanent nutrition services employees, 250 limited term employees, and cafeteria student assistants are assigned to school sites, including Avalon. The Branch office is located at 3333 Airport Way, Long Beach, CA 90806.
The Nutrition Center houses a state-of-the-art cook/chill facility that produces quality products for school meal programs. Additionally, the production center prepares meals for the district’s Child Development and Head Start programs. Meals are provided to the City of Long Beach supporting the Summer Parks Programs. We also support a summer food program that allows us to feed children 18 years and younger at selected sites for no charge. Sites are selected based on academic programs offered during the summer. The sites must meet specific criteria.
Offices within the Nutrition Center include the Nutrition Services Director; Nutrition Services Purchasing; Cafeteria Accounting; Nutrition Services Projects and Equipment, Maintenance and Repair; Lunch Application; Nutrition Services Delivery and Warehousing and Nutrition Services Computer Operations.
In addition to managing program finances, the Branch plans menus; develops specifications for food, supplies, and equipment needed by the programs; purchases food, supplies and equipment to support meal programs; repairs cafeteria equipment; and delivers food, supplies, and equipment to the schools.
The District participates in the School Nutrition Program for Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack, and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) for, breakfast, lunch, snack and supper. Audits and program reviews are conducted by State and federal agencies to ensure that established menu standards are met. Participating in the program enables the district to offer free or reduced price meals to students from families meeting family size and income levels established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
We, at the District, understand and value the health and wellness of our students. As part of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed into law. It aims to improve child nutrition by making changes to school meal guidelines. This law promotes healthier meals and incorporates the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by implementing grade-level regulations on Meat, Fruit, Vegetables, and Whole Grains. The meals planned by the Long Beach Unified School District Nutrition Services staff comply with set standards for calories, saturated fat, sodium, and specified servings of food groups. Current menus average less than 10% of calories from saturated fat over a one week period.
The District offers the Harvest of the Month program which incorporates food tasting with classroom nutrition education lessons. The lessons provided to teachers include children's literature, fun activities, and the opportunity for students to explore and taste different fruits and vegetables. This program is currently in 34 elementary schools and has provided approximately 23,000 students yearly with the opportunity to learn about new foods.
The Nutrition Services Branch also offers the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) at select elementary sites. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a federally assisted program providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools during the school day. The goal of FFVP is to improve children's overall diet and create healthier eating habits to impact their present and future health. The FFVP will help schools create healthier school environments by providing nutritious food choices; expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience; and increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption.
Menus are planned by a staff of dietitians. An analysis of each menu is conducted to ensure compliance with regulations established by the State of California and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other equally important considerations include acceptability, cost, texture, color, and availability of meal components. Feedback from school sites is used to measure student acceptance. Breakfast and lunch menus are published in the Food Section of the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Thursday, on a recorded message at (562) 427-7923, extension 500 and on our web page.
Each school day, more than 56,000 meals are served throughout the District. At elementary schools, students may purchase a complete meal or milk. At secondary schools, students have a variety of complete meals to choose from.
At elementary schools, middle schools and senior high schools, an automated point of sale (POS) system is in operation. This system streamlines data collection and provides students the opportunity to interact with a computer in a business environment. Students are issued either a bar coded meal card to be scanned or a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to be entered into the computer to determine their meal eligibility and to record the transaction. Students not eligible for free or reduced price meals may establish a prepaid meal account and pay in advance or may elect to pay daily. (The requirement to pay does not apply at the non-pricing schools.)
The Nutrition Services Branch strives to support the academic programs of the district. We welcome suggestions to enhance our program to better serve you.