Untitled 1 Healthy School Food Maryland
Real Food for Kids - Montgomery  


2015 Priorities

Each year in December or January, RFKM polls its members on their top priorities. For our 2015 survey, we were very pleased to have 404 responses, which was a 27% response rate for our parent members at that time. The top ten priorities of our members are listed below. Parent priorities have not changed greatly from last year, but we do have two new items (numbers 8 and 10) in our top ten list this year, as we have suggested new possible solutions/goals for addressing member concerns. The greatest concern of parents this year (and number 2 from last year) is a menu populated with typical kid foods like chicken nuggets and pizza and the desire for a more diverse menu. Most notably absent from our top ten list this year was our number 1 priority from last year: "Advocating for a system-wide solution for easier access to free, unlimited water in cafeterias." This is likely due to our success in addressing this issue through advocacy last year that resulted in the offering of free bottles of water in elementary schools this year to children buying lunch. However, we recognize that this solution does not address children bringing lunch or middle or high school students and is not the best solution from an environmental standpoint.

Read the full priorities survey report

Rank Priority Score


Offering at least one meal per day that is not typical "junk food" (e.g. not pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.).



Replacing unhealthy a la carte items with healthier items.

Progress: There are now many healthier options to choose from, including cheese sticks, clean label popcorn and pita chips, dried chick peas, and hummus. Schools that request only these healthier options receive them. As contracts expire, foods with prohibited ingredients (some food dyes, preservatives and MSG) will stop being served, further improving a la carte options.



Eliminating or drastically reducing typical "junk food" options.



Setting an upper limit for sugar in any product served in MCPS that is stricter than the current limit of 35% by weight.



Offering unlimited fruits and vegetables free to all children who purchase lunch.



Removing remaining chemicals from the list developed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest that was included in our petition from MCPS food (some have already been removed).



Moving from processed, pre-plated and reheated food to food cooked from scratch at the central facility with more prep work done on site at schools with kitchens.



Pushing for 25% scratch-cooked main dishes by the start of the 2015-2016 academic year.



Replacing unhealthy vending items with healthier items in machines that are on during the school day.



Getting MCPS to reduce sugar loads per meal (by limiting a la carte purchases, only serving white milk with sugary entree items, or through some other method).


2013 Priorities and Progress
2014 Priorities and Progress
2016 Priorities and Progress
2017 Priorities and Progress
2018 Priorities and Progress


"Food is fuel for growth, development, and learning. It is short-sighted to overlook this crucial element in school success. Highly processed food with large amounts of sugar and salt do a disservice to our kids, and undercut family efforts to teach a healthy lifestyle. In a county like Montgomery, we can do better. We owe it to our children.".
- an RFKM Supporter


         Copyright © 2019   Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food and Agriculture (HSFM's fiscal sponsor)