Healthy changes in the cafeteria

A nutritious lunch is important to a healthy mind.  Now with new regulations from the U.S.D.A. there will be more healthy options on school lunch menus this year.

Before students head back to class, all cafeteria staff from Beaumont Independent School District schools go through training to prepare to feed southeast Texan children with the right food.

"It's going to be fun for us because we'll be encouraging them," said kitchen manager Betty Rogers who has been with the district for 36 years and hopes the updated menu in her kitchen will help students build healthy habits.

"Once they grow up and out of here they'll remember what they had in school," said Rogers.

The biggest change in regulations from last year to this year is the fact that all children have to have a fruit or vegetable on their tray, at least a half-cup of one or the other.

The director for child nutrition for BISD, Joanna Genuardi, says now the schools also have to offer a certain amount of beans or peas every week.

"We have to serve red, orange vegetables. We have to serve dark leafy greens which would be like spinach or mustard greens," said Genuardi.

The classics will still be served but in a healthier way.

"It's all very regulated so it's low in fat, nothing is fried, and the bun is whole grain," said Genuardi.

Rogers is glad the students who go through her line will be filling up on the right stuff.

"It gives them something they might not be getting at home," said Rogers.

Cafeteria staff say providing healthier options in the lunchroom will mean more focused students in the classroom.

B.I.S.D. lunchrooms are also serving healthier options at breakfast, eggs and fat free sausage, fresh fruit and cereal with low fat milk.

Breakfast is offered free to all students at B.I.S.D. schools.


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