July 10, 2012
Students at Mankato area public schools are going to see a big change in food options next year.
During last night’s school board meeting, officials explained the adjustments they’re working on to get District 77 in line with new USDA school lunch guidelines. Vending machines with soda will be replaced by water and juice; school concession stands will be revamped to include fresh produce, less candy and pizza made with whole wheat; and cafeteria food will have reduced sodium and sugar levels.
Ron Schirmers, food service director, says students will also see reduced bread servings, and more fruits and vegetables. The district has about a year to make the transition and will focus on lunch menus before adjusting breakfast choices.
Erin Gonzales, a registered dietician for the Mankato Clinic, says they’re also implementing changes in the classroom. Teachers will be encouraged to find alternatives to offering treats or snacks as rewards to students, which Gonzales says can lead to unhealthy emotional eating. They will also initiate “Jammin’ Minute,” where teachers will lead students in a one minute activity to boost focus and concentration.