School lunch tasting event to draw more schools to federal lunch - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

School lunch tasting event to draw more schools to federal lunch guidelines

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Photo: Lunch samples (NEWS10 ABC) Photo: Lunch samples (NEWS10 ABC)

ALBANY, N.Y. – A school lunch tasting event took place in Albany on Tuesday to showcase the changes and new nutrition guidelines in cafeteria meals.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010 outlining new regulations to make school lunches healthier. The federal school lunch program called for more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on students' lunch trays.

However, the changes proved to be a challenge for many schools to feed students a balanced meal while staying within a budget.

This year's local school lunch tasting is an attempt at redemption after last year's food was left to rot because kids rejected healthier federal guidelines.

Some local schools even opted out of the guidelines after losing money. Schools also argued that they could offer nutritious meals but couldn't force students to eat or like the food.

Teresa Snyder, the Voorheesville School Superintendent said "We were down $90,000."

She explained how opting out of the lunch made financial sense due to their comparatively low poverty level and free and reduced lunches.

There is a new offering by Pizzeria Uno which has a sweet potato crust.

Elizabeth Myer with American Dairy Association & Dairy Council said "It has low fat cheese, and a crust made from sweet potatoes."

Vendors are getting creative after kids tossed the healthier options in the garbage.

The tasting event at the Polish Community Center will feature food options provided by vendors and food service providers that are lower in sodium, fat, calories and sugar but foods that student s will still enjoy.

But the stakes are high to keep the food and the costs lean. Local school professionals tested a range of foods to ultimately decide which ones will end up in the lunch line.

During the event, nutrition professionals sampled the new products to decide what will end up in Capital Region cafeterias. The foods will be scrutinized for their nutritional value as well as meeting monetary guidelines.

If you want to get kids to eat healthy, nutritional experts and school officials at the event said it may come down to marketing. They said kids are more likely to choose a healthier option of it comes with a well-known brand. 

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