The U.S. Department of Agriculture is celebrating
good news for America’s schools: new guidelines for healthier school meals introduced last
year are proving to be popular, as nearly eighty percent of school districts have adopted
the changes. In central Iowa’s Bondurant-Farrar school district, that means more fruits, vegetables
and whole grains, low fat dairy and other changes are making school meals healthier
for students. It makes you feel better. When you eat good foods you feel a lot better about
yourself, you feel a lot better just in general — you have more energy. And then that leads
into the classroom as well. There are some of my friends that say, like, oh they don’t
feed us enough; we don’t get enough to eat. Well, those people that are complaining, they’ll
only take a burrito and an apple. But if you take the burrito and then the beans and then
the salad and then the fruit, you get full. For some schools, the new guidelines have
represented changes and challenges. With all the different changes, it seemed like we would
be worried about the number of calories, especially our high school students would be eating.
But with the variety of options, there is really something for about every student.
For school food service directors, the new school meals patterns are a chance to be creative
and innovative. You know it’s just a challenge teaching the food service staff that I have,
getting them to buy into it, getting them to know that this is do-able, this doesn’t
take that long, we can do this. The vast majority of schools across the country report having
successfully implemented the new meals standards, and USDA expects to hear from more states
soon. So foods that children are purchasing at school will be foods that will add to their
overall good nutritional health. So we’re very, very excited about that. In Bondurant,
Iowa, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I’m Pat O’Leary.