Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Utah County Schools Earn National Nutrition Honors

PROVO -- Ask kids what their favorite subject is at school and some will joke "recess" or "lunch." There is good reason that lunch should be high on that list. Twenty Utah County elementary schools have earned honors for their nutrition programs.

It's part of the Healthier U.S. School Challenge, a voluntary national certification for schools which participate in the National School Lunch Program.

Lunch itself is only part of the challenge. Schools had to show they had improved the quality of the food available and met the dietary guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine. They had to provide nutrition education and have the students participate in physical activity during the school days.

Provo School District had 10 of its 13 elementary schools meet the challenge and earn the bronze medal.

Bill Seidel, the Child Nutrition Coordinator for the district, said the lunch menus were planned with new regulations focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

One of the main challenges is trying to reduce food waste, he said. It takes time for the students to adapt to eating different food. The servers must first make it available to them, then the students take the next step.

"We encourage them to eat it," he said. "Nutrition is only good if you consume it. It is definitely not an overnight thing."

"We pride ourselves on doing a lot of scratch cooking," he said. "It makes better meals."

On their web page, they show some of the schools' efforts to create interesting and attractive food. Sometimes they introduce certain foods to the students and send baskets of that particular food to each class, along with a fact sheet telling about it.

Read entire article at Provo Daily Harold http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/utah-county-schools-earn-nutrition-honors/article_d470d1ba-0a85-5acb-8c02-83c685ac0895.html

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