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Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) Head Start nutrition services help enrolled families to meet each child's nutritional needs by establishing good eating habits that nurture health development and promote life-long wellbeing. Each child is provided two balanced meals and a snack each day. The program participates in the School Lunch Program and assistance is available to help parents identify nutritional needs of the children.
Staff and the Nutrition Committee supervise and plan the menus for breakfast and lunch. The menu is approved by a Registered Dietician and meet the USDA and Head Start requirements. The Nutrition Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month to plan the menus. The meals provide the students with foods that supply two-thirds of their "Recommended Dietary Allowances" and contribute to good health. The foods are high in nutrients and low in fats, sugar and salt. During the Nutrition Committee meetings, nutritional information and training is presented to inform families about the importance of nutrition and healthy food choices. Parent requested topics are also provided.
HCPS Head Start must prevent exposure to specific foods for enrolled students who may have food allergies. Therefore, the program does not permit outside food items to be brought into the classroom or to be served to the students.
For students with special dietary needs, Student Nutrition Services can modify or substitute meals. The first step in this process is to obtain a Diet Prescription Form for Special Meals, which can be downloaded from the Hillsborough County Public Schools website. The program can make requested modifications only if the form is completed, signed by the student's physician, and returned to the HCPS Head Start office. The program will forward the completed form to the student's assigned school.