Schools struggle to get kids to eat healthier

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Schools nationwide are abiding by new USDA standards on school lunches, but many in Indiana said getting kids on board hasn't been easy.

At Lawrence Central High School, Devon Smithson and his football buddies are still opting for less healthy options, like nachos and french fries.

"I get a milk and a juice, and sometimes I got to the vending machine," Smithson said.

The new standards require schools to stay within certain calorie counts and offer more fruits and vegetables. They also serve smaller portions of many foods. Every student must also choose at least one fruit or vegetable for their plate.

"They can also get more fruits and vegetables this year," said Stephanie Tragesser, Director of Food and Nutrition Services.

Still, Tragesser said, many students would not take all of the fruits and vegetables allotted under their meal plan. Instead, many kids still went for french fries, which remain under the vegetable category.

"(In) sports we like to eat a lot. (They) cut back on the food and I don't like that," said Nikia Averitte, football player.

Tragesser said the idea is to fill kids up with healthier foods, but it's still a work in progress to get them thinking in a new way.

"(We need to) see what the students like and then we're going to try to promote those items more to them," Tragesser said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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