Nutrition and Healthy Eating
As an outgrowth of our Middle States planning, the school has recognized that both knowledge of nutritious eating habits as well as our students’ actual practice of same must be addressed. Mercyhurst Prep recognizes that student wellness and proper nutrition are related to students’ physical well-being, growth, development, and readiness to learn. The school is committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness, proper nutrition, nutrition education, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning experience. In a healthy school environment, students will learn about and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices that can improve student achievement. We recognize that education plays a major role, but it is also important to encourage students to make nutritious choices.
In order to address both, the following items are in place:
- Nutrition education forms part of the required curriculum for all students in Health I, II and III courses.
- Nutrition education, as well as an emphasis on the students’ own eating habits, is the focus of the required freshman Fitness and Wellness course.
- Posters displaying healthful food choices are visible and readable within food service or seating area.
- Nutrition education materials are readily available in the food service area for assisting students to develop knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy lives.
- A monthly menu is available to student body, staff and families, and nutritional content of menu items is available to students.
- Nutrition information is provided on foods offered in order to promote knowledgeable food choices.
- A suggestion and comment board is available so that students and staff can evaluate the meal program and offer recommendations.
- A nutrition report card is available upon request by parents detailing a student’s food purchases.
- All food and beverages are served in a clean, safe and pleasant environment.
- Students are provided with a minimum of 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch.
- Farm to Fork – Students are involved in the planting and harvesting of produce from the edible school garden, and fresh produce is used in school meal preparation.
- A comprehensive food allergy guide is available to students; school nurse notifies cafeteria manager of students with known serious food allergies.
- Provide a nut-free area for students with serious allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Maintenance will ensure that this area is cleaned before each lunch with appropriate product.
- Students have access to hand washing or sanitizing before meals.
- Drinking water is available and accessible to students without restriction and at no cost to the student, at all meal periods and throughout the day.
The school meal program will:
- Offer high quality, delicious, flavorful, nutritious food, with an emphasis on less processed foods and more from-scratch cooking including:
- at least three fresh fruits daily with a variety available at various points of sale including near registers.
- a variety of lean meats, cheeses and proteins.
- at least three types of vegetables daily.
- individual salads and salad bar daily.
- whole grains including fresh dough whole grain pizza and new whole grain products as they become available.
- a variety of foods that contain no more than 30% of total calories from fat.
- vegetarian options.
- cage free eggs.
- Use only trans-fat free oils.
- Eliminate the use of frying in food preparation.
- Offer baked and whole grain snacks at every meal
- Offer a variety of low calorie beverages including:
- 100 % fruit juice.
- hormone free milk that includes 2%, 1% and non-fat milk options as well as a lactose free product.
- flavored water with no sugars or sweeteners – any size.
- flavored water with artificial sweeteners -17 oz. or less.
- Eliminate products containing peanuts and tree nuts, and their oils, with the exception of individually packaged servings of peanut butter.
- Include food items selected by students, parents and the staff through taste testing.