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MCS Meals and Student Allergies

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Happy Fall everyone!  Our school nurse, Stephanie Bloom, and I have been working closely to keep track of student allergies and food preferences.  We are doing what we can to provide a well-balanced meal that provides enough options for all students to have enough to eat each day. 

Unfortunately, it is not possible to accommodate every allergy and preference in our community. There are several foods to which some of our students are allergic; including eggs, sesame, soy, dairy, gluten and legumes, making it difficult to eliminate all allergens from our menus. Thus we have chosen to eliminate the most common -  nuts.  For any questions regarding our nut-free policy, please reach out to Stephanie. 

At this time, we do provide a vegetarian alternative (such as tofu, hard boiled eggs or beans) on days when animal protein is served.  Many lunch items are served as separate components, such as plain pasta served with cheese sauce on the side, or plain baked potatoes with a choice of toppings.  We make every effort to ensure all students have something they can eat.  Each year we re-evaluate the number of students with any given allergy or food preference and do our best to accommodate the most prevalent. 

In general, MCS students are expected to share in the family-style lunch provided each day; however, on occasions when your child cannot eat a part of the lunch due to a health concern documented in Magnus, parents may send in a food alternative (for instance, gluten-free pasta on a day when pasta is on the menu), so their child can participate in the day's lunch along with their peers.  In medical cases, a student may bring lunch from home only after speaking to our school nurse Stephanie and obtaining approval.  If a family has specific questions about their child’s allergies or other medical situation in regards to snack/lunch at school, they should contact the nurse who can be reached by phone at 212-348-0952, ext.292 or via email: sbloom@manhattancountryschool.org.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide separate menu items that are vegan, dairy-free, kosher or gluten free.  We encourage all students to participate in the family-style meals that are served in the classroom. Our tradition of family-style lunch emulates our mission of equality by providing "one lunch for all." Sharing communal meals with their teachers and classmates helps students develop social skills and encourages conversations about everything from the environmental impact of food waste to the risks and rewards of trying new things. 

Each week’s menu is communicated in both English and Spanish via the school website; in Nuestra Semana; and by email to faculty and staff.  Menus will now include any major allergens for a particular item in parenthesis.  Here's a sample menu listing:

Chicken Tenders (Gluten, Soy, Eggs & Dairy)
Baked Tofu (Soy)
Rice
Corn on the Cob
Fresh Vegetables
Fresh Fruit
Milk

The MCS Kitchen also provides a daily menu that lists all ingredients in each food on the lunch cart sent to every classroom.  We hope that these steps will clarify what is being served each day. 

For any questions about the menu, ingredients or how to roast some broccoli, Head Chef, Emilie Esders, can be contacted by phone at 212-348-0952, ext. 215 or via email: eesders@manhattancountryschool.org.