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Creating better school lunches

Reported by: Robert Byers
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Updated: 7/24/2013 11:59 am
BELMONT, Miss. (WTVA) - The cafeteria at Belmont High School is empty right now but that changes in a few weeks when school starts back.

That's why a group of cafeteria workers met Wednesday with a Mississippi Department of Education official.

They're hoping to find new ways to make the food students eat at school more exciting for them.

Tishomingo County Superintendent Ben McClung said, "They're able to eat a good breakfast and lunch at school. Those may be two of the best meals some of our children have everyday."

The superintendent admits some students are turned off by the meals.

It's because of new federal and state guidelines on what is served.

That includes more fruits and vegetables and smaller portions of meats and breads.

That is why the group is trying to come up with new recipes and other ideas to get more students to enjoy their meals.

Bill Urban with the Mississippi Department of Education said, "I think the biggest challenge they have right now is the child must take a fruit or vegetable in order for the lunch to be reimbursable. As a state agency we try to educate them on meeting that objective. Once they see there are options, they learn that it's not so bad."

Cafeteria employee Laura Lambert said, "We try to get the children to give us ideas on stuff they're eating and things they'd like to see on the menu."

That's important for students who offer suggestions to cafeteria workers.

Student Breanna Lynch said, "I understand they have guidelines to meet. We'd like for them to use them in different ways."

Just as important as what food is being served is how it's prepared.

The deep fryers at the cafeteria are no longer used.

The switch to baked or steamed food is all but complete in this school kitchen.

Now, officials say, they must continue to come up with meals that taste the way students like them.
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