School is in the groove this fall with new changes to the school lunch and breakfast menus. During the summer, the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack changed the guidelines to make student lunches healthier in schools across the United States.
Changes were made because of the Let's Move It! Campaign founded by First Lady Michelle Obama that encourages kids to eat healthy. "When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables," says Michelle Obama, according to usda.gov.
According to Heidi Elliot, Head Cook at North Tama, some new guidelines at North Tama are that each student must have a fruit or vegetable on their tray before they go to the cashier; the fruit and vegetable serving size has gone up. For Kindergarten through 8th grade, students need 2 1/2 cups of fruit and 3 1/4 cups of vegetables per week. For 9th through 12th grade, each student needs 5 cups of fruits and 5 cups of vegetables per week.
Zane Nelson, 5th grade student at North Tama, is being served a hamburger by Head Cook Heidi Elliot. As part of the new regulations, the bun is whole wheat to get more whole grains into a student’s diet at school.
Students have also been noticing these new changes to the school lunches. "Not all the foods are really salty, which is good because I don't really like salt," said Brayton Ewing, a sophomore at North Tama.
"We are getting new foods such as egg rolls and macaroni and cheese. They are not the greatest foods in the world," said Zac Ameling, a freshman at North Tama.
With these new guidelines, it also has affected organizations within the school using food as a fundraiser. Baked goods do not usually pass the nutritional calculator, a program that calculates the calories, total fat, and other nutritional food facts.
"Based on the knowledge I have about not selling baked goods in school, it greatly affects National Honor Society's fundraising," said Susan Johnson, advisor of North Tama's National Honor Society. "Our biggest fundraiser was selling scotcharoos once a week. That was our major income and now it is done."