School lunch menus have been altered this year after changes made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Schools are now required to serve up healthier selections including more fruits and vegetables, increase the offering of whole grains, reduce sodium and saturated fat, and eliminate trans fat.
Students are also required to take a minimum half-cup of fruits or vegetables; and each meal is comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and milk.
“I think it's a big step in the right direction,” said Mary Darnton, director of dining services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools.
Darnton said the district began preparing for the changes two years ago. They focus on fresh, locally grown produce.
The students are handling the changes well, Darnton said, because they've been spread over a few years.
“We are seeing more and more students choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, and trying new foods,” she said.
Well-balanced meals come at a cost. Grand Haven elementary school students pay $2.25 for standard lunches, while middle and high school students pay $2.50.
Spring Lake elementary school students pay $2.10 a day for lunch, and middle and high school lunches are $2.35. Students choosing to forego their cup and a half of fruits or vegetables pay an a la carte price, instead of the set lunch rate, said Peg Panici, the director of food service for Spring Lake Public Schools.
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