Nutrition

Polk County Public Schools’ Nutrition Department includes more than 1,000 dedicated professionals who work hard to serve nutritious meals to students every day.

Did you know that each school year we serve more than six million breakfasts and 11 million lunches? We do!

We believe that good nutrition is critical to student achievement and the attainment of our district’s mission and goals. We strive to serve fresh, high-quality food and offer local products at every opportunity, including fresh-from-Florida green beans, corn on the cob, strawberries and more!

Need Help?

Food Allergies/Special Diet Needs

Community Eligibility

As part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs, we are able to offer meals to our students at no cost. We are proud to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture as a way to provide healthy breakfasts and lunches each day at no charge for ALL students at qualifying schools.

Click here for the list of CEP Schools.

If your child attends a charter school not on the above list, please contact the school directly regarding meal benefits.

Career Opportunities

There are great benefits to a career in school nutrition: the schedule is great, with afternoons, weekends and holidays off; full-time employees are eligible for benefits, including health insurance, not to mention the pride you’ll feel when you create smiles, one meal at a time! Professional growth and career enrichment are vital to building a nutrition staff that is prepared to meet the changing needs of our program. All employees receive ongoing training and professional development. Opportunities for career advancement is available to employees who successfully complete our School Nutrition Leadership Academy.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call 866-632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax at 202-690-7442 or by email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 or 800-845-6136 (in Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

FAQ's

Why are all meals free?

Polk County participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Currently all schools served by Polk County Public Schools’ School Nutrition department participate, which means breakfast and lunch is provided at no cost to all students. CEP is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program.

Do schools provide breakfast?

Through our Bright Start Breakfast Program, every school in Polk County offers breakfast to students every day. You can save time and be confident that your child is getting a nutritious breakfast to fuel his/her day.  In addition to breakfast in the cafeteria, many schools offer options such as grab-n-go at locations throughout campus or breakfast in the classroom.

Students who have breakfast at school perform better on standardized tests; show improvements in their math grades, attendance and punctuality; are more likely to consume important vitamins and minerals; and are more likely to consume fruit and milk.

What is provided as part of a school meal?

The School Nutrition department provides healthy meals in a welcoming dining environment. In addition to daily entrée choices, students can select from a variety of vegetable, fruit and milk options to make their meal complete.  Students are required to select at least one fruit or vegetable to “make it a meal.” Water is also available.

Ever heard of 5-2-1-0? Students can get all 5 of the recommended fruits and vegetables at school; 2 at breakfast and 3 at lunch! After that, encourage your kids to get no more than 2 hours of non-educational screen time, 1 hour of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks each day.

What if my child has a food allergy or other special dietary need?

If your child needs a modification to the regular school meal, please complete a Diet Modification Form and return it to the school nutrition manager at your child’s school. In most cases, the form must be completed and signed by a state licensed health care professional. A parent can complete the form if the request is to provide lactose-free milk in place of regular milk or an alternative item for religious reasons (for example, no pork).

We accommodate most reasonable requests. Please ask the healthcare provider completing the form to be as specific as possible to help us accommodate the request correctly and as intended. For specific questions, call 863-647-4804, ext. 7, or e-mail dietmodifications@polk-fl.net

Are meals available in the summer?

We are a proud provider of summer meals through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Summer BreakSpot program. Meals are free and available to anyone 18 years and younger. We have open sites at many of our schools as well as throughout the community. To find locations, during summer months, you can text “FoodFL” to 877-877, call 211 or visit www.summerbreakspot.org

How do I apply to work in a cafeteria?

There are great benefits to a career in school nutrition. The schedule is great: afternoons, weekends and holidays off! Full-time employees are eligible for benefits, including health insurance and retirement.

Step 1: Complete the Online Employment Application.

Step 2: E-mail schoolnutritionjobs@polk-fl.net with your application reference number, full legal name and phone number. You will immediately receive an e-mail with instructions.

Step 3: Supply copies of required documents to the hiring manager.

  • Proof of 10th grade education (mandatory, no exceptions)
  • Florida driver’s license or Florida ID card
  • Social Security card (do not fax or e-mail)

Required documents can be e-mailed, faxed or delivered in person: