Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

October 1, 2013

Editorial: Schools help students make better food choices

One salad at a time, Traverse City Area Public Schools students are changing their lunchtime habits.

There are baskets of local fruit near the cash registers; for a discounted price, students can choose a full meal for lunch that must include three of five components — milk, fruit, vegetable, grain and protein — and one must be either a piece of fruit or a vegetable. Students often pay less for a meal than they do for a la carte items like hamburgers.

District officials said students are increasingly reaching for fruits and vegetables instead of chips and candy bars, indicating that a district-wide push to offer more nutritious meals with an emphasis on locally grown produce is paying off.

Tom Freitas, the district’s new food and nutrition services director, wants to offer better food and get students to eat it.

There’s a way to go. TCAPS serves roughly 6,000 lunches per day, and spent about $2 million on food in the 2012-13 school year. Most went to mega distributor Gordon Food Service. Only about $35,000 — 1.7 percent — bought locally grown fruits and vegetables.

But Freitas said TCAPS is working with distributors like Cherry Capital Foods and farmers in the region to build farm-to-school efforts.

This isn’t new stuff, but trying to change the eating habits of thousands of school kids isn’t easy.

On a recent day at East Middle School, several students said they buy a piece of fruit or vegetables only to qualify for cheaper full-meal prices; one student called it “take it and toss it.”

On that same day, the menu included Sloppy Joes, sandwiches, hamburgers, veggie burgers and two Chinese dishes, including General Tso’s chicken. While the chicken appeared to be a clear student favorite, it didn’t click with everyone. One eighth-grade girl loudly suggested it looked like “brains;” a few girls indicated that lunch regularly borders on the inedible.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot