Portion control is fundamental for school nutrition programs to stay within their budgets. Proper portion sizes strengthen concepts of balance and moderation in student diets and can reduce child obesity and waste. The USDA Professional Standards include portion control as part of the key topic Serving Food in the learning objectives. The learning objective states, [Employees will be able to] “identify/serve portions of food items according to USDA school meal pattern requirements and diet restrictions.”
The John Stalker Institute (JSI) offers Fill It Up the Right Way Workshop to Go bringing training right to your school. This workshop teaches portion control strategies that can be applied in your school nutrition program; activities include practice weighing, measuring and the proper use of kitchen equipment. Online resources for this workshop can be found in the JSI Resource Center. The Fill It Up the Right Way workshop meets the requirements for the USDA Operations learning codes ensuring that learning outcomes are aligned with USDA expectations. Click here to read about Fill It Up the Right Way workshop in Westport, MA last year.
Another valuable resource is JSI’s A-List, a list of single serve products that are pre-portioned and meet the school nutrition program snack requirements ensuring appropriate portion sizes. The A-List is an up-to-date and ever-expanding list of vending and snack products that meet the Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools and the USDA’s Smart Snacks nutrition standards, whichever is stricter.
To analyze recipes for non-packaged foods check out JSI’s Recipe Tool. The Recipe Tool can be used to confirm that your school’s recipes meet the federal and state nutritional standards in the proper serving sizes. The Recipe Tool even generates downloadable nutrition facts labels and allows you to share your approved recipes.