By Kristina Pritchett
In every Dana Point school in the Capistrano Unified School District, students are now able to get a healthy breakfast while at school.
Last month, Palisades Elementary School joined the other schools in the city in serving breakfast to interested students in the morning.
“They’re serving about 70 meals at recess,” said Kristin Hilleman, director of the food and nutrition department for CUSD. “That’s about the average since they started.”
Hilleman said the school district is under strict guidelines to ensure the students are eating a healthy and balanced meal. The items, if they are a grain item, must be 100 percent whole grain, and juices must be 100 percent fruit- or vegetable-based.
Students are offered a variety of different meals like bagels, breakfast sandwiches, mini pancakes and more. The meal also comes with yogurt with granola or graham crackers, 100 percent juice, 1 percent milk or non-fat chocolate milk and fruit.
“We have some really good stuff available for the kids,” Hilleman said. “And it’s probably one of the healthiest meals they’ll get.”
She said the district does taste tests every once in a while to see what the students are leaning toward.
“It’s different at different school sites,” Hilleman said. “But, we work hard to see what the kids like, what they’ll consume, and to see what parents, administrators and even ourselves think should be on the menu.”
Hilleman said the breakfast costs about $1.75, and she is hoping more students participate in the program.
“It’s a big deal to have fuel in the morning,” Hilleman said. “It helps with cognition, it helps students get better test scores, and have better behavior.”
Food and Nutrition Services in CUSD is looking to expand in more schools across the district, and are looking to sell more breakfast in the schools.