Healthy Snacks New Focus Of School Lunches
No more cookies. Bring on the apples.
That's the trend the U.S. Department of Agriculture has wanted to see in schools since the passage of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids act in 2010.
The newest guideline: healthier snacks and individually sold items.
"It's a lot of things that are going into this," said Cynthia Overton, the food service manager at South Jefferson Central School.
"Even our drinks, our juices, our flavored milks that we sell," she said, "the serving size of them will be a lot smaller."
Not every South Jefferson student is ditching the snack and picking up the fruit. Instead, they're bringing their unhealthy treats from.
That's hurting the school's bottom line.
"It could be a factor where there's the availability of what's out there on the commercial market that they can purchase," Overton said.
When changes kicked in at the beginning of last year, fewer students were buying school lunches.
That amounted to a loss of $30,000 for the district by the end of the year.
So, it got creative to bridge the gap.
"We made it more appealing and more to their age limit instead of just putting it out there and not making it interesting," said food service volunteer Liz Nichols.
This time, food service workers are hoping for a smoother transition.
"I think the USDA has learned a hard lesson where they shouldn't implement it fully right off the bat," Overton said. "They should have given it to us in stages."
That's the plan for the snack food guidelines, which don't take full effect until July 1.
Thursday, August 28, 2014, Watertown, NY
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