Schools Combat Food Waste - WBAY

Schools Combat Food Waste

Ashwaubenon -

Most people know lots of fruits and vegetables are a good thing, especially the federal government, which mandates what can be served in schools.

Pioneer Elementary School's cafeteria might be mistaken for a health food restaurant--it's filled with fresh fruit, whole grains, and a salad bar.

"A half a cup portion of fruits and vegetables is what's mandated on the Healthy Hungry Kids Act," Betsy Farah, Ashwaubenon School District dietitian said.

The federal government has mandated what goes on lunch trays for a few years. Next year there are even more requirements, including all grains need to be whole grain.

"We need to have educated staff in the back checking the trays to be certain [the requirements] are being met," Farah said.

There are lots of fruits and vegetables available for kids to eat and they're required to put them on their plate, but that doesn't mean they need to eat them, causing schools to get creative.

"We involve [kids] in the menu process, we have taste tests here," Farah said. "If we have variety and the kids get to pick, they might find something that they like and the elimination of food waste is reduced."

So far it appears to be working -- at least at Pioneer Elementary School. School officials say more kids are eating more healthy foods by choice.

Students at the school told WBAY they liked the fruits and vegetables.

The school says it's a slow process...but they think it's worth it.

"They may throw some away but it might just be an introduction and a behavior change for the future," said Farah.

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