By Sarah Plummer
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Raleigh County Board of Education, Superintendent James Brown reported that the Child Nutrition Department has “found its stride.”
“Instead of hearing concerns and complaints this month, I am hearing really positive responses about the meal improvements and I think we are going to continue to see that work progress,” he said.
Teresa Baker, director of child nutrition, said October has been met with a change of attitude on the part of the children and parents.
“The kids are beginning to adapt and we have implemented the salad bars on the high school level and expect to implement them on the middle school level in November,” she explained.
Kids are happier now that they have some alternatives to the menu and more options.
In September, Baker explained that salad bar lines were not implemented at the beginning of the school year because the cooks needed time to first train and adjust to the main menu.
The county has added extra help to high school cafeterias until the cooks are better able to manage the time needed to prep the fresh fruits and vegetables on the salad bars, she said.
The cooks are already feeling more comfortable with the changes and will be trained Friday by a USDA food chef about healthy, sodium-free spices to boost flavor, Baker said.
In addition, Baker has been visiting school health classes to talk with students about the change and explaining to them the reasoning behind the federal guidelines.
These educational opportunities, along with newsletters going home to parents, is helping to create a better understanding of the change, she said.
One of the reasons this change has been so difficult for students is that they are being exposed to vegetables they are unfamiliar with.
The new federal guidelines are specific about how much and what type of vegetables are served students.
In other words, students may always liked carrots, but they can’t have carrots at every meal.
Within a week they must be offered at least 1/2 cup of green, leafy vegetables (which does not include Iceberg lettuce) and 1/2 cup red and orange vegetables as a part of the total amount of vegetables offered.
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