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New Brunswick doctors, dietitians release school menu analysis

After compiling and analyzing the contents of over one hundred school menus from around the province as part of their second Make Menus Matter project, New Brunswick’s doctors and dietitians are releasing their findings to the public.

“It has been very eye-opening to see the different types of food served in schools to students,” said Dr. Camille Haddad, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We’d like to thank the parents who contributed to our data by sending us menus.”

The analysed menus represent 41 per cent of all schools in the province. Of them, 27 per cent meet provincial nutritional guidelines, and 54 per cent do not. It was not clear whether the remaining menus meet guidelines.

“There were many menus who would have met guidelines were it not for items such as burgers, pizza, or cookies being available every day,” said Vanessa Yurchesyn, Co-Chair of NB Dietitians in Action. “The policy states that these foods can only be served twice a week.”

Food providers ranged from large corporations to non-profit organizations, local cafeteria staff, and volunteer parent committees. Some cafeterias served food prepared on-site, while others served items from fast food chains.

“We saw some really standout menus that focused on locally grown produce and whole grains,” said Dr. Haddad. “In analysing menus, we hope to find those already doing a great job to help other schools adopt their strategies.”

The stories of schools serving exceptional food will be compiled into a “Where to Eat” guide, to be released next week.

During this week of the Make Menus Matter project, students are also invited to share a photo of their school lunch on Medical Society social media channels and tag it with #whatiate. Every day of the week, one student will be randomly chosen to win $50.

“With students sharing photos of their food, we hope to learn what they are actually eating at lunch,” said Ms. Yurchesyn. “This takes our work beyond menus and onto the plates themselves.”

Media contact: Andrew MacLean, New Brunswick Medical Society, amaclean@nbms.nb.ca