If you’re like many O’Hara parents, the first time you learned of “extras” was through a rapid depletion of your student’s lunch funds or your student’s excited chatter about ice cream with their lunch. Extras are the additional, “a la carte” snack items available for purchase at the cafeteria. While the purchase of extras was previously restricted to 3rd – 5th graders, the option has recently become available to ALL students, including those in kindergarten. Available options include:
- Ice Cream
- Rice Krispies
- Fruit Roll Ups
- Fruit Snacks
- Whole Grain Cookies and Cupcakes
- Potato Chips
- Yogurt Cups
- Baked Lays
- Other Snack Items
As a group dedicated to promoting the welfare of our students, the PTO feels it is important for families to be aware of the food choices available and how they may be impacting what your student is eating at school — perhaps without your knowledge. PTO lunchtime volunteers have reported long lines for the purchase of extras, as well as students skipping their regular lunch items in favor of sweet treats and chips.
While all of the items available for purchase are required to comply with federal “Smart Snacks” guidelines per the District’s Wellness Policy, the options may not align with your family’s own nutrition standards. If that is the case, we suggest the following:
- Log in to your School Cafe account and review your student’s purchase history. Decide how you’d like to handle extras going forward. For some, a conversation with your child may be sufficient to curb unwanted purchases.
- If needed, contact Julie Geary, Nutrition Center Manager, to restrict the purchase of extras by your student.
- Attend the January 30th District Forum meeting, where the Nutrition Center Manager will be part of a “Meet and Greet” with various district administration representatives. Come prepared with your questions about the school’s nutrition policy, and how extras fit in to that.
- Consider joining the District’s Wellness Committee.
The PTO would like to know your thoughts on the a la carte options available to our students. Should we advocate for different choices? We welcome your comments and questions.
2 thoughts on “Extras, Extras – Read All About Them!”
I definitely think that the PTO should be advocating for healthier snacks. I was not aware of Extras and was shocked by the list. I assumed that in the 20 years since I graduated from high school that the food would have improved. But, I haven’t been incredibly impressed with the lunch menu either. I am unaware of the financial model of the lunch program and know that not every student’s family could afford healthier snacks but I am willing to pay more for better snacks. Why can’t the school offer fresh whole fruit, trail mix, bags of veggies, Larabars, alternative milk yogurts, individual hummus and guacamole (Costco sells these), cheese sticks, etc.?