Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is there a link between good eating habits and student performance in school?
A: Numerous studies indicate that the answer is a resounding “yes.” According to these studies, children who eat healthy meals (breakfasts and lunches) score higher on tests, have better attendance, make fewer trips to school nurses, and have fewer disciplinary problems. School meals play a critical role, as they provide students with the healthiest, lowest-cost, most nutritionally balanced meals available. And, the fact that school meals are served in the cafeteria makes them convenient, too!
Q: How do I find out if my child (children) qualifies for free/reduced-price meals?
A: All students in early childhood, elementary and middle school are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost. For high school students, every school year, a parent or guardian must first complete an application for free/reduced-price meal benefits. Applications are available – in English and Spanish – at the Food & Nutrition Services Center (800 N O’Connor Road, 75061; 972.600.6900 phone) and at every high school campus. Once the application is received and processed, the parent/guardian will be contacted and informed as to whether or not their child/children qualifies for meal benefits.
Q: Is my child getting the nutrients he/she needs from school meals?
A: Yes. Irving ISD employs a registered and licensed dietitian to plan all school meal menus. We follow nutritional guidelines set by the government, and analyze meals to ensure compliance with nutritional requirements. We do not fry foods in any schools, and (district-wide) we serve only reduced-fat or fat-free milk.
Our health initiatives include:
Numerous elementary schools qualify as HealthierUS schools, meaning they meet the nation's highest standards in three critical areas: healthy school meals, nutrition education, and regular, rigorous physical activity and exercise
Offer fresh fruit daily
Offer only baked or low-fat chips at schools
Use low-fat American cheese
Offer "no sugar added" 100% fruit juices at breakfast and with some lunches
Use low-fat turkey franks instead of higher-fat hot dogs
Use non-fat gravy
No frying at any schools
Increase in foods containing complex carbohydrates (i.e. brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat sandwich buns, partial whole wheat rolls, etc.)
Increase in use of frozen - not canned - vegetables
Use lower-fat turkey ham instead of regular ham
Use only low-fat Mozzarella cheese on pizzas and in cheese sticks
Use ground turkey as an ingredient in all of our chili, taco meat, etc.
Offer an assortment on low-fat and non-fat milk at breakfast and lunch
Q: How do I purchase meals for my child?
A: The most convenient way is to set up an electronic account on https://www.schoolcafe.com/IRVINGISD In addition, each school's cafeteria manager accepts deposits of cash or checks. If paying by check, please write your student's name and student ID number in the memo section of the check. We are unable to accept checks if you do not include:
Texas driver's license number
Date of birth
Deposits can be made in the cafeteria before school, during breakfast, or during lunch.
Q: How can I check the balance of my child’s account?
A: The best way is to set up an account on https://www.schoolcafe.com/IRVINGISD. Accounts set up via https://www.schoolcafe.com/IRVINGISD are available to be viewed 24/7. If you do not set up an electronic account, you may visit with your school's cafeteria manager. The Food & Nutrition Services Manager will be able to inform you of the current balance.
Q: What happens to the money in my child’s account at the end of the school year, or if my child transfers to another IISD school?
A: Funds left in an account at the end of a year will be available for that student’s use in the next school year. IISD students who transfer to a different Irving ISD school can access their account at any school within the district.
Q: Does my child have to purchase an entire meal?
A: Students who receive free/reduced meal benefits, or who pay for a reimbursable meal, must take at least three of four (4) items (called components) served for breakfast, and three of five (5) items (called components) served for lunch. For optimum nutrition, we strongly recommend that students take all available meal items. Furthermore, a reimbursable meal (breakfast or lunch) is much less expensive than the same items purchased ala Carte, so students who get the complete meal are smart shoppers, too!
Students are allowed to purchase just the entrée, or side dishes, on an ala Carte basis.
Q: Don’t kids sometimes throw away a lot of food?
A: Sometimes. Although, for maximum nutrition, we encourage students to take all meal items offered, IISD has implemented the Offer vs. Serve Program. Under this program, students have the independence to select, within guidelines, what they want to eat. The result: less waste and increased customer satisfaction.
Q: What should I do if my child requires special diet modifications?
A: Irving ISD’s Food & Nutirition Services Department has a registered and licensed dietitian on staff to work with special dietary needs. A statement signed by a licensed physician, a physician assistant, or another recognized medical authority must support requests for special diet modifications. The signed statement must be provided to the school nurse, who will forward it to the school’s cafeteria manager, who will send it to the Food & Nutrition Services Department. Meal pricing is not affected by dietary modifications.
Q: Some times I think that portions are too large, or are too small. Who sets the size of portions?
A: The government sets meal portion sizes. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) determines age-appropriate serving sizes of meats/meat alternates, fruits, vegetables, bread/grain products, and milk. Each school district that participates in the National School Lunch Program, and other child nutrition programs, must meet the USDA’s requirements. Since calorie levels are also set at age-appropriate levels, older children (i.e. high school age) receive larger portions than younger children.
Q: How are the menus organized? Who sets them?
A: Our school menus are organized on a three-week cycle. This means that the menus (generally) repeat every three weeks. The schools use a three-week cycle because it allows maximum flexibility and limits overall inventory levels. The cycle menu allows us to incorporate changing student tastes, introduce new items, and evaluate participation rates.
Menus are set during late spring of each year. We use results from student taste tests, feedback from a menu advisory committee, and other tools, to help us set the menu.
Q: Why do adults pay more than children for the same meal?
A: Per USDA program regulations, adult meals must be priced to cover the costs of those meals. We can offer student meals at a reduced price (from adult priced meals) because we receive reimbursement from the government for each student meal we serve. Since adult meals are not eligible for reimbursement, we must charge adults the full cost of the meal.
Annual surveys of area meal prices consistently show that Irving ISD adult lunches are among the lowest-cost adult lunches in the greater Dallas area.