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Nourishing Growing Minds

Whitsons School Nutrition is committed to providing wholesome, high quality menus, prepared fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients whenever available and in season (We source an average of 52% of our products locally companywide). Key program features:

 

  • We emphasize wholesome, natural ingredients, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy snacks.
  • We offer a variety of allergen-free foods to accommodate students with allergies.
  • Our menus comply with the new Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and state and local wellness guidelines.
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Whitsons School Nutrition is committed to providing wholesome, high quality menus, prepared fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients whenever available and in season (We source an average of 52% of our products locally companywide). Key program features:

 

  • We emphasize wholesome, natural ingredients, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy snacks.
  • We offer a variety of allergen-free foods to accommodate students with allergies.
  • Our menus comply with the new Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and state and local wellness guidelines.
  • We educate children about making healthy choices, using our award-winning Nutrition Safari® and Smart Choices™ nutrition education materials. See our Nutrition Education section for more information.
  • Menus are changed monthly to introduce new seasonal specials, incorporating community feedback and the latest menu trends.
  • We support our menu offerings with comprehensive, age-appropriate marketing materials that encourage students to make healthy meal choices.
  • We have a proven track record of increasing program participation and profitability in the districts we serve.

Our “back to basics” approach to school nutrition has enabled us to get to the heart of what matters to our customers, serving wholesome, great tasting food and teaching students to make nutritious meal and snack choices, thus setting the stage for our children to enjoy a more enriching educational experience.

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Wholesome Foods with Natural Ingredients

Whitsons has a proven track record of offering wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals that taste great; meals that parents want their children to purchase and students want to eat! Our chefs and registered dietitians work tirelessly with our suppliers to increase our use of natural ingredients.


Through these efforts, Whitsons’ menus include locally sourced items whenever available and in season, featuring wholesome, natural ingredients and minimally processed foods. Highlights include:

 

  • Products sourced by Whitsons have Zero Trans Fats unless naturally occurring.
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Whitsons has a proven track record of offering wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals that taste great; meals that parents want their children to purchase and students want to eat! Our chefs and registered dietitians work tirelessly with our suppliers to increase our use of natural ingredients.


Through these efforts, Whitsons’ menus include locally sourced items whenever available and in season, featuring wholesome, natural ingredients and minimally processed foods. Highlights include:


  • Products sourced by Whitsons have Zero Trans Fats unless naturally occurring.
  • Our milk and chicken products are free of added hormones and antibiotics (at the time of processing).
  • We source products without artificial ingredients or High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) wherever possible. Examples include breads, dressings, condiments, chocolate milk, etc.
  • We offer fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
  • We prepare our meals with low fat cheeses and lean meats.
  • We feature whole grain pastas, rice, breads, pizza crust, pancakes, waffles and other grain products.
  • We balance potato products and other starchy vegetable offerings with a primary focus on complex carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables.
  • We bake instead of fry.
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Home-style Cooking in Small Batches

We prepare our food in small batches, with wholesome ingredients, just like our customers do for their own families. By cooking in small amounts throughout the day, our meals remain fresh and delicious, from the first meal served to the last student at the end of the lunch period. Our purchased items, including meat, produce and other ingredients, are delivered fresh or flash frozen, and often come from local vendors. Our cooks are guided by Whitsons-developed recipes that our culinary-trained executive chefs have tested and refined. Wherever possible, we do “scratch cooking,” making our own sauces, soups, marinades and gravies. We add fresh herbs and spices for the best flavors. The result is healthy foods made from simple, natural ingredients.

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Partnering with Local Product Providers

Local purchasing is an important part of our overall purchasing strategy and we partner with local farms and vendors whenever possible. We believe it is important to provide local produce, dairy and other meal components for increased quality and freshness, and to support our local economies. We also require our local vendors to adhere to the same strict quality guidelines as our regional and national suppliers. One requirement is that farms follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), including approved testing of their water quality and irrigation process. We also have safety and packaging expectations that must be in place to ensure that quality and integrity of all products are maintained, as well as HACCP plans, lot traceability, full ingredient and allergen disclosure and satisfactory third party audit results. Through our local sourcing efforts, we currently purchase an average of 41% of our products from local suppliers.

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Use Of Government Commodities

Effective utilization of government commodity foods is essential to ensure affordable school dining programs for parents and school districts in the communities we serve. In our menu development, we carefully consider government commodities and their use in preparing fresh meals every day. It is important to recognize that, although the use of commodities is essential, our primary focus is to deliver meals that are tasty and nutritious and meet the needs of the students. We utilize commodities in conjunction with our primary goals whenever possible, but we do not create menus based on the availability of commodities alone. We have proven methods in place to ensure cost effective means of maximizing the use of commodities and commodity dollars in all of our school nutrition programs.

 

As with all of our vendor relationships, we evaluate the manufacturers of the commodity products to ensure all products used are of the highest quality and nutritious value. In order to purchase their products, all manufacturers must have letters of guarantee for each product, HACCP operational plans in place at the plant, conduct third party audits and allow Whitsons to conduct our own audit, and meet USDA standards. This process is critical to ensure only the best products are purchased and served to our students.

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