PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With steam tables percolating and lunch ladies dishing up the menu, the 2012-2013 school year is well underway at Millones University Prep School.
“Grab another fruit,” a cafeteria worker urges a passing student.
This year, new and tougher Federal Nutrition Standards rule school lunches.
“It’s really just a matter of making sure that the menu items meet the guidelines, and they’re also favorites of the children,” says Curtistine Wakler, Director of Food Services for sixty Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The pizza is whole grain and the sauce has less salt. There are also deli and salad bars.
Now milk, vegetables, fruits, protein, and grains must meet strict limits on saturated fats and portion size.
“Basically I try to make everything look appealing,” says Cafeteria Manager Gwen Reed. “That’s what’s going to get em’. If it looks good I want it.”
There are additional food service standards as well.
For example, there are age appropriate calorie limits, larger servings of fruits and vegetables, a wider variety of vegetables (including dark green, red, and orange), fat free or 1% milk options and more whole grains and less sodium options available.
“I like cheese fries and stuff like that,” Deja Stitt, a 9th grade student reflects.
That is not likely to show up on the menu. But for some kids, like Keir Payne, more vegetable aren’t such a tough sell.
“No. I’ll eat it if I got to,” Payne says.
Nutritionists will have to find other ways to boost flavor by 2014 when more sodium restrictions will appear.
Pittsburgh Public School lunch prices will stay the same until they see how the changes affect expenses.