Walnuts in Schools

California walnuts can help evolve your school menu to fit today’s healthy eating trends.  Walnuts are a student-approved plant-based meat/meat alternate easy to add to school menus. The California Walnut Board is committed to helping you make school meals nuttier! Get recipes, resources and lesson plans to help you dish up walnuts at breakfast, lunch and snack time. 

Meal Equivalency

Meal Equivalency and Nutrition

Walnuts have been recognized
as heart-healthy* by the Food and Drug Administration and bear the American Heart Association heart-check mark. Walnuts provide students with 4 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber and plant-based omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA). One ounce of walnuts contains 2.5 g/oz of ALA, which provides 156-250% of the daily recommended intake of ALA for school aged children (1-1.6 g/day).³ Studies show that ALA may be as effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as seafood-based omega-3s, EPA and DHA.⁴

Walnuts in Bowl

Food Allergies

Maintaining a safe environment for children with allergies is always top-of-mind for school administrators, parents, and foodservice directors alike. The recent CDC Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs1 provides guidance for developing and implementing a comprehensive plan for managing food allergies.

Allergen Labeling Law:

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that food manufacturers identify the presence of the eight major food allergens on food labels.  But, the FALCPA labeling law does not directly apply to foodservice operations. As an amendment to the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, the FALCPA targets packaged foods regulated by the FDA. However, there are two points worth noting:
  • If you pre-package foods and offer them for sale (e.g. salads), you are subject to labeling requirements.
  • At schools, you are the key resource for clients who consume your meals. Without access to package labels, clients depend on you, your staff and your menus to answer questions about food ingredients.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.

Ag in the Classroom

The mission of The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is to increase awareness and understanding of agriculture among California’s educators and students. California Walnuts supports this important mission and has developed lesson plans for grades 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8, exploring walnut production and harvest and walnuts’ nutritional benefits.

Ag in the Classroom Grades 2-3

One ounce of walnuts is a powerhouse of important nutrients for optimum health.

Ag in the Classroom Grades 4-5

Unique among nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of ALA.

Ag in the Classroom Grades 6-8

Walnuts can help Americans get these important components of a healthy diet.

School Foodservice Recipes

Kick up breakfast and lunchtime menus with these kid-friendly tasty and nutritious recipes.

School Pilot Programs

Walnuts in schools

Greeley, CO

Learn about our Greeley, CO school pilot program and how students like walnuts in school meals.

Street Walnut Taco School Foodservice

Chula Vista, CA

Learn about our Chula Vista, CA school pilot program and how students like walnuts in school meals.

A Guide to Serving Walnuts in Schools

With nearly 75% of students interested in eating more plant-based meals, walnuts have earned a spot on their tray.

*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alphalinolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
3Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients). Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2005.
4Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. The evidence for α-linolenic acid and cardiovascular disease benefits: comparisons with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Adv Nutr. 2014; 5(6):86 3S -76S.
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