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Healthy School Meals Act: Nutrient Comparison

Key Provisions | Frequently Asked Questions | Nutrient Comparison

Soy-based and Traditional Foods in School Foodservice

The soyfood acceptance study took place in Montgomery County Maryland Public Schools in 2008. Soy and traditional foods were served on alternating weeks. Researchers evaluated product acceptability and nutrient profiles of the test foods. Equal amounts of soy-based and traditional products were consumed. Proportions eaten differed slightly, but most students consumed the entire product regardless of the food type. Introducing soy-based products can help schools meet U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations for fat and saturated fat while providing more vegetarian choices and variety.

 

Soy-based Chik’n

Chicken

Soy-based Chik’n Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

Black Bean Burger

Serving Size

2 oz (57.5 g)

2.1 oz (62 g)

3.75 oz (106 g)

3.75 oz (93 g)

3 oz (93 g)

Calories

80

200

230

230

180

Protein

14 g

17 g

15 g

14 g

15 g

Total fat

2 g

11 g

9 g

13 g

6 g

Saturated fat

0 g

3 g

1 g

3 g

1 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

50 mg

0 mg

35 mg

0 mg

Fiber

1.5 g

0 g

6.2 g

0 g

6.0 g

On average the soy-based entrées had 18 percent fewer calories, 45 percent less fat, 57 percent less saturated fat and one-fifth the cholesterol compared to traditional entrées. The soyfoods had nearly equal amounts of protein, twice the amount of iron, and six times the amount of fiber compared to the traditional menu items.

Lazor K. Soy goes to school: acceptance of soyfoods in metro middle schools. The Soy Connection. Vol 16(1): The United Soybean Board; 2008. Available: http://www.soyconnection.com/newsletters/soy-connection/health-nutrition/article.php/Soy+Goes+To+School?id=155.

Traditional Vegetarian Lunch Options and Plant-Based Vegetarian Lunch Options

Many traditional school lunches are packed with cheese and oil.  Although cheese contains protein, it is high in fat—especially saturated fat—sodium, and cholesterol. Plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and soy are lower in fat, cholesterol-free, and have plenty of fiber and other healthful nutrients.

Traditional Vegetarian Lunch Options

 

Cheese Sticks

Mac & Cheese

Cheese Pizza

Grilled Cheese

Cheese Chef Salad

Average (Traditional vegetarian)

Calories

300

304

309

407

218

308

Protein

16 g

15 g

22 g

14 g

17 g

17 g

Total Fat

14 g

13 g

12 g

27 g

12 g

16 g

Saturated Fat

5 g

7 g

7 g

14 g

8 g

8 g

Cholesterol

20mg

15mg

20mg

25mg

10mg

18mg

% Calories from Fat

42%

35%

35%

60%

50%

44%

Plant-Based Vegetarian Lunch Options

 

Veggie Burger with Bun

Soy Chik’n Strips in Bun

Veggie Sloppy Joe with Bun

Veggie Chili

Veggie & Bean Pasta Salad

Average (Plant-based vegetarian)

Calories

220

193

250

270

247

236

Protein

19 g

18 g

12 g

9 g

8 g

13 g

Total Fat

5 g

5 g

3 g

8 g

8 g

6 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

1 g

1 g

1 g

1 g

1 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

0 mg

0 mg

0 mg

0 mg

0 mg

% Calories from Fat

20%

23%

11%

30%

29%

23%

Please note: Nutritional data provided in this chart are estimated based on information provided by school food service directors.



 

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