GLOVERSVILLE - In a continuing effort to battle childhood obesity and improve nutrition for young people, schools in the area will offer more fruits and vegetables this fall, while offer less healthy foods, such as pizza, less often.
Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act became law in December 2010, schools across the nation have been making these efforts, and local school officials are pleased with the progress.
"I think our kids having the opportunity to have more fruits and vegetables is a great idea. Keeping an eye on caloric intake is also good," Mayfield Central School District Superintendent Paul Williamsen said. "I think kids have to learn how to make positive choices, and food is a good place to start."
Northville Central School District Superintendent Kathy Dougherty said this is a move in the right direction, and her district has plans for the upcoming school year that include a greater selection of salads with 10 different options, more vegetarian meals to choose from, including black bean burgers, and a new water bottle dispenser.
"We have already, in the past couple of years, started doing what's mandated now in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables," Dougherty said. "We are also going to start posting the nutritional contents of food items where the students can see them as they go through the lunch line."
She explained some of the new meals for the upcoming year have been offered at summer events, and officials have received positive feedback. She said students have enjoyed the meals being offered and hope the school serves them during the upcoming school year.
Williamsen believes having a wholesome and nutritional meal is an important part of the school day, and it teaches the children to respect themselves.
"We don't want our kids eating pizza every day. We don't want our kids eating potato chips every day," he said. "There's a time and place for those foods, but we want [our kids] to eat better."
Both superintendents said they expect some resistance, but overall the positive aspects of the program outweigh the negatives.
"I think there will be a few students who will have to adjust to this," Dougherty said. "[But] I think our students will embrace it, and I know the adults will. I'm anticipating it [to be] very successful."
For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/cnr_2010.htm.
John Borgolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.