What’s on the Menu?: Lawmakers proposing revision of healthier meal standards in school lunchrooms

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga.

 

If you’re a parent – odds are you’ve heard your kids complain about school lunches.

And with the current “healthier meal” initiative, some schools say it can be a challenge to still make the food taste good.

But, the Senate has a new proposal that could change that.

Lawmakers want to give schools more control and flexibility in what they serve by easing up on some of the “healthier meal” restrictions.

News 3’s Courtney Cole is taking a closer look.

We’ve all heard the saying before, “You are what you eat.”

And that’s what’s inspired First Lady Michelle Obama to put healthier meal standards in place in schools throughout the nation.

“When you eat the right kinds of fruits and vegetables everyday, it helps you pay attention in class, it helps you think better,” says the First Lady.

But now the Senate wants to make a few changes…

And Jessica Hampton, a Nutrition Resource Manager for Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools –says they would affect school lunch menus in Chatham County.

“So what they’re suggesting is, with the whole grain requirements we have to serve all grain products [and they] must be whole grain rich, so they’re suggesting that we make  80% of products be whole grain rich. It allows for regular grits, biscuits, pastas, things along those lines,” Hampton said.

And tougher rules on sodium were also set to go into place next year, but Senate voted to delay that for now.

Even if the rules get stricter, Hampton says students shouldn’t worry, there won’t be much difference in taste.

“You’re not going to see much, as far as our current recipes, if anything–we would have to scale back on how much salt we’re adding..But a lot of products already have sodium in them, and we can’t decrease them.”

Hampton says the toughest part about keeping up with “healthier meal” regulations now is the limited choices .

“A lot of manufacturers couldn’t keep up with these new guidelines, so we were struggling to find products that were even in compliance with these guidelines.”

Not to mention the cost of fresh produce…

“As far as produce, it’s got to be double…it’s far more expensive,” Hampton told News 3.

So scaling back will not only help make eating healthy more manageable for schools, but a bit cheaper, too!

The change in “healthier meal” standards could be in place as soon as next school year– it’s passed the Senate, but has not yet passed in the House.

Parents, what are your thoughts about this? Be sure to visit our Facebook page to share your comments.

 

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