Feeding the Body as We Feed the Mind

More than 350 employees at 63 locations work to make sure that nutritious and safe food is provided to the students and staff of Des Moines Public Schools. On any given school day, nearly 13,000 breakfasts, 22,000 lunches and 1,500 snacks are served in our schools.

The district’s Central Nutrition Center (CNC) opened in 2004. The CNC houses a production facility that allows many foods to be prepared centrally, assuring a consistent, quality product.

Menu items are prepared using a cook-chill method. The product is heated to at least 180 degrees F to kill bacteria, then rapidly cooled to below 40 degrees F and stored at 33 degrees F before distribution to schools in refrigerated trucks. This process minimizes the time a product is in the food temperature danger zone (40 degree F to 135 degrees F). A typical day of production will yield 2,500 pounds. School kitchens are equipped to heat food sent from the CNC to optimum serving standards.

The CNC also houses a bakery. Most products are made with at least 50 percent whole wheat flour.

Twenty eight elementary schools participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which provides a daily fruit or vegetable snack. Summer meals are provided at no cost at more than 30 locations during June, July, and August. Additionally, nutrition educators provide lessons and tastings in K-3 classrooms at 32 elementary schools

All children at DMPS schools may purchase meals, meeting federal nutrition standards, through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, but families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free or reduced price meals. Families receive applications for the free and reduced price program at the start of the school year. Every elementary student is offered a free breakfast.

DMPS school nutrition professionals care for the children they serve, and through strict food safety procedures and staff training, school nutrition professionals maintain a superior safety record while providing nutritious meals to thousands of children each day. Steps taken to ensure safe meals include:

  • Taking at least two internal temperatures from each batch of cooked food.
  • Maintaining records of cooking, cooling, and reheating temperatures in the food preparation process – the basis for periodic reviews of the overall food safety program.
  • Pre-chilling all salad ingredients to help maintain cold food temperatures.
  • Preheating transfer carts before food is transported.
  • Using the cook/chill method at the CNC to minimize the time a food product is in the food temperature danger zone.

Click on the links to the right to find out more about our food service program.

DMPS Wellness Policy

Click here to download a copy of the DMPS Wellness Policy.  If you wish to be part of the DMPS Wellness Committee please call Amanda Miller, 242-7636.

Director of Food & Nutrition

Amanda Miller
Address: 1225 2nd Avenue, Des Moines, IA
P: 515-242-8308 | F: 515-242-8118 | E: amanda.miller@dmschools.org