Schools aim for healthier options

With the recent changes in school lunch programs aimed at combating childhood obesity, schools in Linn County have adjusted their meal content. According to information presented by Marceline R-5 Food Service Director Sandy Hoskins:
- All milk served must be 1 percent milk.
- There is a minimum of one ounce of meat for grades K-8 and two ounces for grades 9-12.
- Half of all grains served must be whole grains. In the future, all grains served must be whole grains. This means all pastas will be whole wheat.
The biggest change is the amount of fruit and vegetables. Previously, schools were allowed to combine the amount of fruits and vegetables served to meet the half to three-quarter cup per day required.
Now, fruits and vegetables are separate components of the lunch tray. Schools are required to serve three-quarters to one cup of each to grades 9-12, and a goal of five cups per week of a fruits and vegetables. Schools are also required to serve a variety of colors of vegetables, which they did not have to do before.
“Our school lunches have changed considerably this school year,” agreed Brookfield R-3 Superintendent Dr. Paul Barger. “The primary force behind the changes is the USDA representing the National School Lunch Program.”