school children will eat healthy food. Steve Karnowski of the Associated Press is on it:A new study has determined that
When the researchers crunched all the numbers they found that schools serving the healthiest lunches did not see a falloff in demand.
While serving better meals does entail higher labor costs, the study found, that's offset by lower costs for more nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables compared with processed foods. However, many districts need to upgrade their kitchens and train their staff to prepare these foods, the researchers said.
The study's conclusions rang true for Jean Ronnei, director of nutrition services for St. Paul Public Schools, which serves more than 46,000 meals daily. The district was held up by the authors as a model for others.
Ronnei said the percentage of St. Paul kids eating school lunches has increased in recent years at the same time the district has been offering more fruits and vegetables.
"That doesn't mean we don't have a hot dog on our menu. We do. ... In our case it's a turkey low-fat hot dog," she said.
Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said she was pleased to see evidence that schools can offer nutritious meals kids will eat without higher costs.