In the August school board meeting, Food Service Director Marlys Lecroix gave an update about her work, including the switch to Rhineheart as the supplier, updating the menu, and explaining the nutrition guidelines.
She spent a lot of time visiting other schools, learning about their set-ups and menus and implementing what she could into the YME program. She rearranged the line set up to increase efficiency and also keep food warmer/colder. She added a “flavor lab” where students can add spices to their food.
Another challenging aspect of the job is predicting how many students will want each lunch. She keeps a record of how many meals are prepared and how many are served, both for state review and learning patterns. Some food can be frozen if there’s leftover, but some food just has to be tossed.
Lecroix has been a food service director for over 20 years. She has been in Balatan, Marshall, South Dakota, and then wanted to get away from the 80 hour weeks and try something different, bringing her to YME.
She wasn’t sure if a-la-cart would work for YME because of families needing money. For those getting free or reduced meals, the state doesn’t cover extra entrees or milk. Over the summer she recovered over $4000 from delinquent accounts.
One aspect that surprised the board back in August was when she mentioned the USDA guidelines said a meal should have two ounces of meat for grades 6-12.
One ounce of meat has roughly seven grams of protein. The minimum protein requirement is recommended at 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight, which applies to both men and women. So, the two ounces of meat would provide about 14 grams of protein in a lunch.
I asked her thoughts about the requirements, and she replied that she’s going to follow the recommendations. The guidelines are supposed to help guide students to eating healthier. The positive reception from the students so far indicates YME will likely have a healthier, well fed student body this year.