Lunches get healthier

With new state regulations on healthy meal options for students, school lunch is getting a facelift. Catawba County Child Nutrition Director Valda Robinson is working with Eat Smart Move More NC and Catawba County Health Partners to improve thecounty schools’ lunch menus.

Robinson and her staff are working to introduce healthy eating to schools. The school system is now partnering with local farms to get the fresh fruits and vegetables that are required by the USDA lunch mandates. Robinson said that according to those mandates now all children must pick three of five items at lunch featuring meat, vegetables, fruits, grains and milk.

“Now that our fresh shipments are coming in, students will have a chance to have more seasonal fresh items,” Robinson said.

The cooking in school cafeterias has also ventured more toward baking and steaming. Robinson said elementary schools no longer use fryers and middle school and high school levels rarely use fryers now.

“The a la carte options have also been changed to promote healthier snacks for kids who want a little something extra with their packed lunches,” said Robinson.

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.