Saturday, Mar 8, 2014
Murphysboro Schools Sticking with Healthier Lunches
MURPHYSBORO -- Federal changes to improve nutrition in school lunch programs are being tweaked again. The rules that took effect in 2012 were aimed at lowering childhood obesity, but many schools complained that students were going hungry.
Murphysboro High School students say more and more kids are bringing their own lunches, because they just don't like the taste of the new food. But school officials say they don't plan to change the menu.
At first glance, Monday's lunch doesn't look all too bad: chicken nuggets, corn on the cob, and fruit. But new nutritional rules mean there are restrictions on what you can dip those nuggets in, and there's no salt or butter to add to your corn.
"We eliminated salt shakers probably two years ago. We use salt in the cooking process, but there's no added salt to be put on the foods," explains Food Service Director Georgia Marshall.
"Lunch is free for everybody, but sometimes it's not worth it to eat it. I mean, it's just not very good," says high school senior Kody Rendleman.
He says he misses the french fries, the salt and mayonnaise. But that doesn't mean it's in his homemade lunch.
"I had grapes, a granola bar, and I had a salad.... Yeah, it's pretty healthy, but at least it tastes good," says Rendleman.
Food Service Director Georgia Marshall says Murphysboro has slowly been making lunches healthier over the past couple of years. While these high schoolers may not find it appetizing, she says the school wants to reach the younger students at an early age.
"By the time the smaller kids have been in the system for a little while, yeah, it's going to be normal not to have ketchup and salt."
High school junior Daryl Murphy says, "Well it's not always bad; the chicken is usually pretty decent."
He eats the school lunch about twice a week. But as a basketball player, he says cutting out the carbs leaves him low on energy.
"Especially having basketball right after school, you need carbs to run and stuff. But now that you don't have any of that, you always have to find something, you have to bring something before practice and everything."
And like it or not, these new foods are here to stay.
The changes to the rules relax the maximum amounts for grains and meats. But the calorie restrictions are still in place, so you can have larger portions of meat and grains, but other parts of the meal will be reduced.
Wind: 8 MPH
Humidity: 81 %