How Public School Lunches Are Going Healthy
What will your hungry student be eating this fall? If Boston Public Schools has anything to do with it, more fresh fruits and veggies and fewer bags of greasy potato chips. As schools reopen their doors, the next set of federal guidelines—part of Michelle Obama’s 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act—kick in, requiring snack options that are fewer than 200 calories and low in fat, sodium, and sugar. According to Deborah Ventricelli, deputy director of BPS Food and Nutrition Services, the city is meeting these requirements by expanding a “Farm to School” program started in 2009. “We’re taking this opportunity to purchase locally,” she says. That means replacing Doritos with apples from farms within a 200-mile radius, and spotlighting Massachusetts growers, like Hadley’s Czajkowski Farm, through “local lunch” Thursdays.
Of course, these changes will have an impact only if the kids buy into them. To that end, the district is implementing an advisory board that asks students themselves to weigh in on menu options. The secret ingredient may be a little more time: A national study showed that while students initially complained about healthier options, soon enough they were swallowing the new choices just fine.