The Nutrition Services Branch, in cooperation with site principals, operates school breakfast, lunch and snack programs throughout the district. The programs are self-supporting and do not require financial support from the District’s general fund. More than 600 nutrition service employees are assigned to the individual sites, including the school at Avalon. The Branch office is located at 3333 Airport Way, Long Beach, CA 90806.
The Nutrition Center houses the production center, a state-of-the-art cook/chill facility, which 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 several locations operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Charter Schools and the City of Long Beach supporting the Summer Parks Programs. In addition to the summer parks program, we 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 Education and Menu Planning; Purchasing; Lunch Application and Income Verification; Cafeteria Accounting; Cafeteria Operations; Projects and Equipment, Maintenance and Repair; Delivery and Warehousing; and 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 National School Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Programs. These programs establish menu and nutrient standards to be met. Audits and program reviews are conducted by state and federal agencies to ensure that the 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.
Long Beach Unified School District participates in the Shaping Health as Partners in Education (SHAPE) Program. This program promotes healthier meals that meet Federal School Meals Initiative Regulations and incorporates the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans . Under the guidelines of the SHAPE program, the meals planned by the Long Beach Unified School District must comply with set standards for calories, protein, total fat, saturated fat, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, cholesterol, sodium and fiber. Current menus average less than 30% of calories from fat over a one week period.
The SHAPE program also promotes nutrition education in the classroom and the cafeteria. Children learn about foods primarily by eating them. The Nutrition Services Branch offers the “Harvest of the Month” program which incorporates food with library and/or classroom activities.
The activities provided to both teachers and librarians include children’s literature and the opportunity for children to explore and taste different fruits and vegetables. This program is currently in 43 schools and has provided approximately 19,000 students yearly with the opportunity to learn about new foods. In addition, Nutrition Services staff provide “on the spot” information to the children about nutrition, healthy choices and what constitutes a balanced meal.
Menus are planned by a staff of dietitians. A nutritional analysis of each menu is required 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 and on a recorded message at (562) 427-7923 extension 400 and on our web page. You can refer to Long Beach Unified School District’s website and find Nutrition Services in the alphabetical listing.
Each school day more than 75,000 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 or they may elect to purchase individual products from a broad list of available a la carte food and beverage items.
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.