Debate over the nutrition of school lunches

By: Megan Peterson Email
By: Megan Peterson Email

EAU CLAIRE (WEAU) - More changes may be coming, affecting the nutrition of your kids' school lunches, as debate continues on Capitol Hill.

Congress is scaling back on the Obama Administration's plan to improve the nutrition of school lunches.

Sue brown is the food and nutrition director with the Eau Claire Area School District. She says with nutrition changes come added expenses. But despite the talks in Washington, she says her district plans to continue making its menus more nutritious.

On the menu Wednesday at Flynn Elementary: pizza, sandwiches, salad, fruit and milk.

"We are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. It's a USDA program and there are quite a lot of regulations because we are a federally funded government program," Brown explained.

Sue Brown says each meal the district serves is made in a healthy way.

"The fruits that were on the menu today are packed in light syrup. The salad dressings that you saw go on the salad were low fat/reduced fat dressing. All of the milk that we’re serving is reduced fat or fat free milk,” Brown said.

The USDA’s recent proposed changes to the meal pattern schools have to follow include limits on sodium and a requirement to boost whole grains.

"This has been the most significant change to meal pattern requirements in quite some time. One of the things that there is talk about is allowing us to serve no more than one cup of potatoes, peas and corn during the course of a week and that would be a change for us," Brown explained.

A bill in Congress released Monday would remove those limits and lessen the control.

Brown says her district will continue moving in a more nutritious direction with or without the limits.

"We've been doing many of these things anyway without the government telling us that we needed to do this. We're looking at more whole grains because we know they are more nutritious and we're looking at more fresh fruits and vegetables," she said.

Brown says increasing whole grains and finding foods that are lower in sodium do make the meals cost more.

Both the House and the Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week.

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  • by TC Location: EC on Nov 19, 2011 at 10:42 PM
    Thank God, when I grew up in Fall Creek, we had the real deal...real food, with real awesome cooks. I couldn't wait for lunch!! Those days are long the kids are eating stuff that doesn't even LOOK like food. ICK.
  • by Here's your sign on Nov 17, 2011 at 07:36 PM
    "Pizza is a vegetable? Congress says yes"
  • by Mark on Nov 17, 2011 at 03:09 AM
    Remember when school lunches consisted of handmade hot dishes loaded with pasta, tomato sauce, and huge amounts of meat or tuna? Remember when the bread was made fresh daily in the school kitchens? You know how many times from Kindergarten to 6th grade that I had pizza at school? Twice. Two times. Hell...the school pizza that I've seen of late doesn't even have any recognizable meat on it.
  • by Pizza is a vegetable on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM
    Read the bill, it's in there!
  • by Deb Location: Whitehall on Nov 16, 2011 at 03:59 PM
    I'm a carnivore at heart, but I do wish the school lunches would include more meat free choices for my daughter who does not eat meat. She can't be the only one.
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