School lunches aren't what they used to be. No more turkey lurkey or lasagna surprise.
Students at Seminole County Public Schools are devouring smoky grilled burgers and chicken sandwiches, even chef salads. They're all made with healthy ingredients.
"Our products are baked steamed and prepared fresh. And we've instituted fresh fruits and vegetables available with all our meals," says Richard Miles the food service coordinator for SCPS. No canned fruit, no added salt, and no french fries. In fact none of the schools have deep friers.
Getting the kiddos to eat a balanced diet can be a challenge. So what's the school's solution to this? Variety. At lunch the students have several options for the main meal such as a chef salad, PB & J or pizza made with low fat cheese and natural tomato sauce. Side dishes include several different daily fruits and veggies and baked chips.
Evans Elementary Fifth grader Ana-Paula Dovali, an aspiring arachnologist says, "The chips that say baked are healthier for you." Fellow fifth grader Preston Berkbigler, who hopes to become a professional athlete, says "The milk is healthier this year." They both know a lot about making good eating choices.
"It does take reinforcement from parents, food services, and a commuinty of efforts to have healhty options that students select," says Miles. That's why the county has a website full of helpful tools for parents. They can track what their son or daughter is eating, look up the nutritional value, and even add more money to their account.
Parents who prefer to pack their child bring a bag lunch, just make sure the food is non-perishable and that you put several ice packs inside to keep it cool.
"I truly believe we feed the future," says Miles. That's why at certain schools in seminole county they are actually growing their own vegetables in a garden. Others get to take what they call "in school" field trips to the kitchen where the students learn to cook their own food.
What a nice change, both delicious and nutritious, double yum!