New lunch menu issued for new school year

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email

News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Classes aren't the only new thing for students in Richmond and Columbia counties.

This school year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requiring schools to revamp their lunch menus. The new menus are a part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.

Haylee Seigler is getting her first taste of the fourth grade at Garrett Elementary, and along with new classes and teachers, she is also getting a taste of Richmond County's new lunch menu.

Good thing she's not a very picky eater.

When asked about what she would eat, she said, "Almost anything good over there."

In line with new USDA guidelines, you'll see more words like kiwi, chilled apples and fresh fruit on the school lunch menus this school year.

"We have always been nutritious," said Josephine Mack, the nutrition director with the Richmond County School Board.

She says they'll have bigger portions of healthier items.

"Cookies will be going away, the dessert items will be going away," Mack said.

It's a welcomed change for parents as our region tries to battle a growing obesity problem.

"I'm really concerned because I have become overweight. I don't want my children to become overweight, too. It's really hard to get the weight off once it's on," said Crystal Seigler, Haylee's mother.

Haylee doesn't think she'll have a hard time adjusting her taste buds.

"The fruits I like are apples, oranges, and tangerines," she said. "Almost about any fruit I can name."

Her list of favorite vegetables is a little harder to come up with.

"Then vegetables, I like carrots, broccoli ..." she said.

"We'll do taste testing and talking and educating getting them to try more vegetables," Mack added.

Not every food item kids go crazy for will disappear.

"Like the pizzas and stuff like that, yeah, that's high in calories," said Haylee's mother.

With a few adjustments, Mack said, "Pizza is good because you have the whole grain crust and you have low-fat cheese."

It's still a favorite food Haylee will enjoy at lunchtime.

"'Cause they are healthy for you and they are delicious," she said.

Students will have to pick three of five components. The components include the main entree, milk, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. One of those components will have to be a fruit or vegetable.

More fruits and vegetables on the lunch money are also resulting in slightly higher lunch prices. This is the first time in 30 years the USDA has made significant changes to the school lunch program.

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