More changes are coming to school lunches.
This time, they could be some that are hard to swallow.
Healthier choices mean higher prices.
Federal changes have slowly made their way into our public school lunch programs. This fall, students will notice some big changes when their food has less salt and more whole grains, fruits and veggies as sides. Jefferson Cityâ??s Belair School Food Services Manager Yvonne Barber is retiring after 29 years. She hopes students adjust to the new menu.
Barber said, â??They seem to enjoy it much more now. They are getting used to it.â??
Jefferson City School District Food Services Manager Terry Ferguson said the biggest adjustment will be the switch to all whole grains. That means everything from pizza crust to the breading on chicken nuggets. School nutrition directors said the changes have been expensive and difficult to put in place. They are trying to give students as many choices as possible so they keep coming back for more. School lunch participation has gone down during the past 2 years at both Jefferson City and Columbia Public Schools.
Ferguson said, â??We hope that we donâ??t lose some kids because of the taste of some of the new items. We are just going to do our best to offer as many choices as possible that taste good.â??
Columbia Public Schools Nutrition Services Director Laina Fullum said the changes will bring higher prices at all public schools across the country. For example, Columbia elementary school lunches will increase this fall by 20 cents to $2.45.
Fullum said, â??Students have chosen to eat with us less as a result of the new regulations. I guess this is a sign that they are starting to get used to some of the changes because they are starting to eat with us again.â??
Fullum said when kids donâ??t buy lunch or throw it away it costs the schools precious dollars.
The changes come at a time when one third of Americaâ??s youth between the ages 2 to 19 are obese.