Local News

May 12, 2014 8:21 AM by Edna Cortinas

School Cafeterias Implement Government Changes

CORPUS CHRISTI- We all remember our school cafeterias; sometimes the meals they served weren't always our favorite, sometimes we wanted seconds.

There are new nutrition guidelines happening to school menus as part of the government's effort to make school lunches and breakfasts healthier. CCISD cafeterias have made these changes and are adjusting meals served.

"It's good," Gregorio Martinez says his breakfast of cereal, cookies, and juice doesn't need to be any different. But in an effort to make school meals healthier and more nutritious, First Lady Michelle Obama has called on school cafeterias to make changes.

As of now, meals are required to be whole-grain rich or more than half whole grain, include less sodium, and each student must take a fruit or vegetable to create a balanced plate, one requirement that's been an added expense for the district.

"We needed to plan our menus differently and so we did have to make some recipes adjustments. At the beginning we made a few missteps and I think we're there now," said Jody Houston, CCISD Food Services Director.

They've added more flavors to options and just returned from a conference where they learned ways to make the 800 meals served at Zavala elementary and all CCISD schools, more delicious and nutritious.

While these menu changes were met with some reservations when first implemented, students have adjusted to these changes and now they are enjoying their lunch and breakfast even more.

Paula Szczepanek, CCISD District Chef says, "We have what's called our fat team; our food advisory team which is made up of high school kids and they give us great ideas and love what we're coming up with so I think it's doing really really well here."

The requirements are going to get tougher within the next few years, with more guidelines being mandated for after school snacks as well.

"You may even see changes with the PTA and what people are selling for fundraiser at the schools which I believe is a very good thing for the health of the students in our district," Houston added.

Food services are constantly looking at their recipes to see what they can do better. They want to encourage good nutrition and show kids healthy, flavorful, ways to eat even at home.

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