First Lady Michelle Obama is changing lunchroom menus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First Lady changes lunchroom menus

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –Georgia ranks third in the nation in childhood obesity. Kids are pigging out on super-sized fast food meals, junk food and soft drinks.

So now, the National School Nutrition Association partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama bring changes to school cafeteria food. The schools are doing this by getting rid of high fat, sodium, and sugary foods.

That meant kids had to say goodbye to deep fried french fries and become more acquainted with Chef Salads.

School lunchrooms are changing and so are the cafeteria workers. "We're working on that customer service, by putting them in comfortable uniforms. T-shirts that breathe, shoes that feel good to their feet. So when kids come in they're smiling," said Director of Child Nutrition Vanessa Hayes.

 And that's just a small part of changes taken place in Dougherty County. At lunch, kids now have choices on what to eat. "Milk that is low fat. Kids choosing what they want and consume what they like," said Hayes. 

"When we were in school, we had no choices it was just what they put on the plate. But now, they have choices like salads, fruits and vegetables," said Parent Aarid Baltimore.

And since kids spent 8 hours a day at school, it's a good place to start. "We give kids 50% of what they consume on a daily basis. So that 50% is what we control," said Hayes.

Statistics show that kids who eat breakfast make better grades. "So with breakfast being that important, we serve a free breakfast program. Any kid in our system won't be charged for breakfast," said Hayes.  

All of these new initiatives are being carried over in the classroom. "I feel great. I see a healthier child every day they come home from school," said Baltimore.

"The health and science piece. What happens to my body when I eat these things? What are the repercussions for choosing a burger and fries everyday?" said Hayes.

Making better choices now will help this generation beat the obesity crisis. Presentation is so important because they believe kids eat with their eyes.

So if it looks, smells and tastes good, those small changes are a step in the right direction. With kids having only 30 minutes to eat, it must be fast food, but nutritious fast food. 

In September the Dougherty County nutrition staff is partnering with local chefs. By doing this, they hope kids learn healthier eating habits.

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