Tonawanda Schools receive new school lunch options
The new standards came as a part of, First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign aimed to reduce childhood obesity through good nutrition and exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years. In 2008 more than one third of children were overweight or obese.
“I think children primarily learn their eating habits at home, but it is up to the school to offer healthy options to help reinforce good eating habits,” said Evelyn Riordan, Sodexo’s general manager at TCSD. “We also have a unique opportunity to reinforce our healthy menu by educating students that good nutrition choices will help them succeed in the classroom and live better lives.”
Riordan said they have not received feedback from parents but students, especially younger ones, seem very receptive to the changes.
“We actually started using whole grain pizza dough last year in anticipation of the new guidelines and the students really like it,” said Riordan.
Things that students will be seeing less of are potato and rice options and any flavored milk that is not fat free. Federally the overhaul was met with some opposition in Congress.
Originally they would have limited a potato serving to two days a week and taken tomato paste off the menu as a viable vegetable serving, but those things did not pass. Tomato paste can still be served as a vegetable serving.
Riordan said at all grade levels they are offering more fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and low fat milk.
“This year we are offering fresh cauliflower, spinach and grape tomatoes and the kids are taking them all,” said Riordan. “All of our sandwiches are served on whole wheat bread and rolls and our deli and salad bars at the high school and middle school levels are very popular.”