Date 13 Apr 2009
A comparison of two elementary school menus in the Albuquerque area shows a variety of foods being provided to children. Lunch staff trying to appeal to the palates of children while providing a nutritious lunch is a difficult task.
I have compared the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) menu for Kirtland Air Force Base schools and the Albuquerque Public Schools elementary menu. After reviewing the scheduled meals for each school the AAFES menu has a larger variety of menu items. The calendar shows two main items to choose from and 2-4 side items to choose. The side items listed were fruit and vegetables. Some menus contained a starch option of bread some of which was listed as whole wheat or whole grain or tater tots. Milk was always on the menu as an option, but the AAFES menu did not specify if the milk was 2%, 1% or skim. Another note regarding the AAFES menu is that children can always order a salad vs. the entrée.
The Albuquerque Public School menu did not have options. The menu was written out for each day. They always have 1% white, chocolate and strawberry milk and 2% white milk available with each meal. The Albuquerque school menu showed a larger amount of unhealthy foods. One day the main course of lunch was corn chip pie, another day it was corn dogs. The variety of foods at the Albuquerque schools was much less than at the AAFES schools.
Both school systems have a variety of ethnic foods available to children on a regular basis. Everything from spaghetti to tacos to orange ginger chicken is on the menus, which help children learn that hamburgers are not the only foods to eat.
Although I did not have the opportunity to observe lunch I spoke with one of my troops whose child is in day care on base. She had lunch with her two year old son the other day and they were treated to a meal of macaroni and cheese, carrots, a...