News10 in the Classroom: Opting out of the National School Lunch - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

News10 in the Classroom: Opting out of the National School Lunch Program


VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y.----$30,000 is how much the Voorheesville School District says it lost in just a few months, because of the National School Lunch Program's healthier lunches.

The school has opted out of the program, but says it's still offering healthy options.

The federally subsidized lunch program has been around for decades, but a recent push by First Lady Michelle Obama re-vamped the menu to reflect more nutritious food in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

The Voorheesville Superintendent says for her district, it made more sense health-wise and money-wise to create its own lunch menu.

The district opted out of the national school lunch program in February, after students bought six thousand less meals in just a few months time.

"We felt if we could get them something substantive, get them back buying our lunches and make it more cost-effective for us to run the program, then we would be able to maintain a commitment to healthy lunches for children," says Dr. Snyder. "But also be able to give them a nutritious and hearty meal to be able to get through their day and their after-school activities."

Voorheesville Cook Manager Tim Mulligan is given the task everyday to make sure kids are eating lunch and they're eating a healthy lunch.

"I try to offer them a variety," says Mulligan. "It's all about eat with your eyes. If you eat with your eyes and the food looks good, they're going to eat it."

"We're making an effort to follow guidelines to make certain they get the appropriate nutrition out of the food that they serve," adds Dr. Snyder. "We don't serve junk food."

Dr. Snyder says a heavy emphasis remains on monitoring the calorie count and amount of salt being used in the food, but also on offering more protein.

"It looks appetizing and it tastes just as appetizing as it looks," says seventh grader Cormac Brennan.

In a statement, the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service spokesperson says, "The vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our Nations children lead healthier lives. Even before the new standards took effect and more resources were available, many schools across the country were leading the way with healthier options and appropriate portion sizes. In fact, schools that adopted the changes earlier report that participation increased as students and parents became accustomed to the healthier options. USDA continues to provide additional flexibility and technical assistance to schools as they all now work to offer healthier meals. We also encourage the very few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the program to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day."




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