Editor's note: Thanks to Rep. Joe Atkins for the idea for this poll. You can find more polls from Atkins on his Facebook page.
School lunches in Inver Grove Heights Community Schools are gradually becoming smaller, healthier and, to the chagrin of school officials, more controversial.
New federal mandates require schools to serve lunches that include smaller portions of meat and protein, fewer calories and more fruits and vegetables.
In this regard, Dakota County schools are slightly ahead of the curve.
The Smart Choices program, developed in 2009 through a partnership between the Dakota County Public Health department and school districts, aims to increase fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains and reduce fat and salt eaten by students.
The Dakota County school lunch regulations require:
- Each student’s tray contains a serving of fruits and/or vegetables
- One-half of all grains are whole grains
- A minimum and maximum amount of protein is served each week
- A reduced number of calories per meal—650 for younger kids; 850 for high schoolers
- White milk must be skim or one percent, and all flavored milk must be skim
- Sodium levels of all entrees are reduced over time
Not only are cafeteria staff urging students to fill up on healthier foods, but they're prohibited from giving students more bread or extra rice to fill them up, according to an article from MPR.
Monetary reimbursement from the federal government is what awaits schools that succeed in putting healthy fare on kids' plates but school officials are preparing for, at least at first, angry parents complaining of hungry kids.