Boone County Schools strategically implement healthy changes to lunch menu

Boone County Schools began serving healthier food and offering low-fat, low-sodium meals in their lunchrooms before the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was implemented in 2010, Amy Scalf reports for the Community Press.

“Whole grain is our largest issue,” Food Service Director Barbara Kincaid told the weekly paper published by The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We work really hard on that because some students find these products unacceptable. . . . Sometimes we don’t point out that items are whole-grain, but they are.”

Dr. Randy Poe, superintendent, said nutrition education is important in the school environment: “A healthy child can make healthier choices, which leads to improved academic performance. So, it’s beneficial to not only make sure our students are eating healthy but to make sure they understand the importance of eating healthy and how it affects their brain, body functions and growth.”

Kincaid said introducing new foods is a little easier with younger students, and “adding unusual vegetables as a garnish can generate interest among students,” Scalf reports. “The students get used to seeing them and begin to try them,” Kincaid said. “Kids who say they don’t like tomatoes may try them if they’re offered as a garnish.” They have been careful to make a few changes at a time. Boone County school cafeterias no longer serve foods with trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup.

“Nationwide, there’s a 15 percent reduction of kids eating school lunches,” Kincaid said. “In the past four years, there has been a 7 percent reduction in Boone schools. That’s significant, and it’s still troublesome to me because those are kids we’re not feeding, and I want to feed all of them.”

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