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School Lunch Changes

11:59 AM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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Report from NBC's Renee Tessman:

WHEN STUDENTS HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL THEY MIGHT NOTICE SOME CHANGES IN THE CAFETERIA.
NOW MEALS WILL BE HEALTHIER.
NEW USDA STANDARDS ARE PUTTING MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES ON KIDS' LUNCH TRAYS.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES WILL BE FRONT AND CENTER IN THE SCHOOL LUNCH LINE THIS YEAR... ALONGSIDE SMALLER PORTIONS OF GRAINS.

USDA'S NEW HEALTHIER SCHOOL MEALS STANDARDS NOW REQUIRE SCHOOLS NATIONWIDE TO OFFER LUNCHES WITH FEWER CALORIES, LESS SODIUM, MORE WHOLE GRAINS.  

ROXANNE WILLIAMS, FOOD SERVICES DIRECTOR: "The biggest change will be an increase in the portion of fruits and veggies."

USDA FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE ADMINISTRATOR AUDREY ROWE FLEW IN TO SAY SHE HOPES THE CHANGES WILL REDUCE OBESITY, DIABETES AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

AUDREY ROWE, USDA FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: "These programs for these children if we can get them early they will learn a healthy lifestyle and they will avoid a lot of those illnesses."

SHAPING A YOUNG CHILD'S INTAKE OF 'GOOD FOR YOU' FOODS SHOULDN'T BE TOUGH, BUT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, MAY HAVE A TOUGH TIME WITH SMALLER PORTION SIZES.

ROXANNE WILLIAMS, FOOD SERVICES DIRECTOR: "They're hungry and they're used to larger portions. We used to have extra bread too that we put out. But no longer."

One of the challenges for schools to get kids to eat more vegetables is to make them appealing enough here at sky oaks elementary they have roasted squash and something called beets and sweets that the kids actually love.

PARENTS ARE HAPPY WITH THE CHANGES.

JULIE PETTES, PARENT: "I think tracy our cook has done a marvelous job I've gotten some of the vegetable recipes from her."

THE HOPE IS THE NATION WILL BE EVEN HAPPIER WITH THE RESULTS.

AUDREY ROWE, USDA FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: "We're hoping that we'll look back and see that we've ended childhood obesity in this generation."

THESE ARE THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS.

THE USDA IS GIVING DISTRICTS SIX CENTS MORE PER MEAL PER STUDENT TO COVER THE HIGHER COSTS OF FRESH PRODUCE.

IT'S ALSO SUGGESTING SCHOOLS WORK WITH LOCAL FARMERS AND PLANT SCHOOL GARDENS TO LOWER COSTS. 

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