MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - Healthy foods aren't exactly widely appealing to students. But for the sake of their federal funding, and their students' health, the Mentor School District is trying to think outside the lunch box. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids act isn't very appetizing to your average student. The latest requirements force schools to provide reduced sodium, whole grain-rich, lower fat foods and vegetables subgroups.Jeni Lange, the Mentor Schools Nutrition Supervisor, says it's expensive and a hard sell. So they're trying things like mexican salad bar day.
"We've tried to take the Chipotle concept and expand it out," said Lange.
They also offer pasta bars and burger bars for creative ways to get veggies on the plate.
"We give students have a lot more freedom in customizing their sandwiches. It brings them in because they're happy being in control," she said.
But kids still complain about the taste or the portion size.
"It's not quite filling. I'm a student athlete so I like to have a lot more food than normal people. I didn't get as much as I'd like to
have," said Mentor High School Junior, Emily Durfey.
Some kids are actually throwing away food. In order for the school to get reimbursement for the meal, students need to add at least a half
a cup of fruit or veggies for a better plate price. But it ends up in the trash.
"It's forcing us to purchase food that we'll just see wasted," said Lange.
Some students do see the nutritional value of what's being served.
"I think it's good. I focus a lot on protein and whole grains and I find a lot of that here," said Junior, Will Kline, a vegetarian.
Lange is hoping more kids come around before the requirements are changed....again.