TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - School nutritionists, cafeteria managers and staff from around the state are in Tupelo to talk about changes they face in school lunch rooms.
They're here for the annual meeting of the Mississippi School Nutrition Association.
New rules by the federal government require school lunches to now have fewer calories, less sodium and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Forest Municipal School District's Nutrition Director Armer Moore said, "When I look at my school district, which is a rural setting and it's shameful to say, they sometimes don't even know about fresh fruit. We use kiwi, fresh strawberries, blueberries and try to impress on them the importance of trying these fresh fruits and vegetables."
Those here say the new food guidelines for students will likely help fight the state's weight problem.
However, learning how to sell healthier plates of food to those children is another story.
That's why they're coming together here to come up with new ideas.
Moore said, "What do you do? How do you advertise that? How do you make it tasty and the appearance of it? What do you do to encourage your children?"
More than 80 vendors are on hand at the conference showing off some of the newest types of healthier foods and ways to prepare it that don't involve grease but rather baking or steaming.
Scott Clements with the Mississippi Department of Education said, "Our legislature and our state board of education have been proactive in implementing some of the changes before they were required by USDA. I think it's made the transition a little easier for us here in Mississippi."
Now, with a plan in place, the next move is to get students interested in eating habits that ultimately are designed to create a healthier lifestyle for these young Mississippians.