School cafeterias posting new, healthy menus for students

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A national push for healthier cafeteria food is prompting Guilford County nutritionists to cook up a new menu this school year.

Beginning the first day of school, fresh fruits and vegetables will be a part of every meal served each day.

"They are relying on us for breakfast and lunch. That's two-thirds of their meals for the day. We need to do the best we can to provide nutrients they need to succeed," explained Director of Food Nutrition Jim Faggione.

Faggione says they've already been incorporating even more whole grains and low-fat foods. This year, meals will include larger portions and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.

It's all a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which is going into effect in schools across the country this year.

"It gives kids veggies and fruits they've never seen before and never tried before. They get excited. It's fun for them to see something new," points out Washington Elementary School Cafeteria Manager Marvin McQueen.

McQueen says even hot dogs are healthier because they are all-turkey meat on whole wheat buns. Pizza crusts, sandwich bread and spaghetti noodles will all be whole wheat.

McQueen added, "Just keep them smiling, even joke with them, and they will eat the nutritious food."

Elementary school student Xander Trice explained, he likes the healthier menu.

"I don't like unhealthy food because it makes my stomach feel bad," said Trice.

School lunches will cost $2.50, instead of $2.30. Elementary breakfasts will remain at 90 cents. Middle and High school breakfasts will remain at $1.00.

The school system had more than a half million dollars in unpaid meal charges at the end of last year, prompting them to start "capping" the number of meals a student may charge to their account.

A flyer explained, "The amount that can be charged for school meals will be limited to $17.50 or the equivalent of five breakfasts and five lunches. When charges reach this limit, students will be served an alternative, complimentary meal until their charge balance is paid in full or the student is deemed eligible for free or reduced-price meals."

The alternative breakfast will be toast with jelly and a water and the alternative lunch will be up to four servings of veggies, a roll, and water.

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