School lunches changing in Mississippi

NESBIT, Miss. — Laura Bloom looked at what schools have always generally served for lunch, and saw nothing but empty calories.

”I see pizza, fast food, processed foods and those type of things.”

But as school begins in Mississippi, that’s going to change.

This year, students will find more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

”We’re gonna try to do that by offering more fresh fruits and vegetables, also this year one hundred percent of the ingredients have to be whole grain,” said Cynthia Coleman with DeSoto Schools.

She also says the federal government has cut the amount of salt they can serve.

One of the biggest challenges schools face is serving food that southerners want to eat. That usually means lots of fat and salt, but experts say you can get the same impact with spices.

Registered Dietitian Coleman aims to get students to think about fresh food the way they do about junk food, ”We’re tying to show them what a healthy meal would look like, what we’re trying to find some balance.”

She says that balance includes what’s healthy, but also what students like to eat.

Coleman also says it’s catching on, ”I feel like with the high school students we’re seen an increase in consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, so I feel like we’re making inroads.”

Even younger students have started to respond.

Bloom says the same plan worked on her son, ”As he got older, he eats all the whole grains now so the pattern was established.”

That’s exactly what schools hope to do.

6 comments

  • JustMe

    If they were REALLY wanting to serve healty food, they wouldn’t be talking about more grains. Grain is what they give cattle to fatten them up, so what do you think it also does to people? Cut out the grains and feed more wholesome vegetables (and, corn is a grain, not a vegetable). Some nutrients in the vegetables can’t be absorbed by the body without a little fat eaten at the same time. The right kinds of fat aren’t bad for you, but very beneficial.

  • JF

    Or find stuff that actually tastes good. My kids stopped eating school lunch when they switched everything last year. And the eat whole grains and whole wheat bread at home. School lunches are processed/canned JUNK. I wouldn’t feed most of it to my dog.

  • Fed Up Mom

    Agreed, JF! They served carrot soup at school, last year! The kids don’t eat it, therefore their attention span is decreased. And why are we limiting salt in children. They run. They sweat. These are kids, not the elderly! Salt is a natural substance necessary to life. Most of the school lunches have become inedible because their “healthiness” has not had “appealing” included in the requirements. There’s not enough food on a school lunch tray to fill up a high school student, much less impact a student’s overall health, but hunger is instantly limiting to their academic success. We will be carrying lunch again this year. They took out break and snack times for the kids. They can’t go all day without food and still perform in the classroom.

  • Melissa

    I am a teacher. I am ok with fruits and vegetables even less salt, however pepper and hot spices are being substituted along with wheat everything. Wheat buns, wheat bread, wheat biscuits and wheat pancakes. The kids throw away more food than they eat. the amount of food our kids throw away could feed a third world country. Balance is the key. Ease into the changes. Provide water to drink. Just saying.

  • leslie

    Just more work for the cafateria workers like there job is not hard enough some people would not last a day in a cafeterias workers place and they dont get paid enough for the hard work.

  • Joe Bledsoe

    If it doesn’t taste good they won’t eat it. Doesn’t matter what it is. That’s how most were brought up, getting what they wanted whether it was good for them or not.

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