Schools bulk up on better nutrition

We tell our kids to eat right.

Finish their greens, lay off the processed goodies, all that good stuff.

So how much sense does it make to send our kids off to school knowing that the cafeteria is serving congealed mashed potatoes and mystery meat?

According to KALW, there are Bay Area schools looking to change the stereotype of questionable cafeteria food. Oakland Unified School District is joining in a movement started by Berkeley schools to serve more nutritious foods to its students.

In a district where many students are at school until early evening, Oakland schools, in conjunction with the Center for Eco Literacy, conducted a study to determine how many students are eating school food, and where improvements in nutrition need to be made.

What they found was not only food of poor quality, but that many students weren’t getting enough to eat to begin with.

Oakland Unified’s Nutrition Services Director Jennifer LeBarre tells KALW that while she’s seen “incremental” improvements in her eight years working for the school district, she is definitely happy with the progress that is being made.

Even parents have responded positively to the improvements in the foods their kids are eating at school. One mom says that better school food can transfer home with the kids:

“If we see them getting nutritious food at school, then that would change our recipes at home, because it’s changed mine, a lot.”

In addition to adding a “hot supper” to the menu for students that are on school grounds into the evening hours, there is also a push to link schools up with local farms, a difficult feat at a time when budget cuts on the educational level are so high. But LeBarre maintains her optimism that feeding healthier meals to today’s kids is completely possible.