Proposed federal regulations may change school lunches

Kids in the United States consume about half of their daily calories at school.

That's according to the United States Agriculture Secretary.

Now for the first time in about 15 years, the US government is hoping for a major nutritional overhaul of meals in school cafeterias.

KHQA's Jarod Wells spoke with the Food Services Coordinator in the Hannibal School District to see what changes may need to be made for this KHQA Safe Family Health Report.

The cafeteria at Hannibal High School already offers plenty of nutritional foods.

Hannibal School District Food Services Coordinator Ashley Gottman said, "All of our milk is low fat, we do offer some whole grains. We offer fresh fruit and vegetables daily at all of our schools. At our high school we have a salad bar almost every day of the week."

Walking through the lunch line, it's obvious that all these foods are available, but after watching students go through the line it was immediately evident what the favorite foods were. Possibly the most popular is french fries. That's why some things will have to change once the new federal regulations kick in.

Gottman said, "I think we will have to re-evaluate our menus. Make sure we're not over on starches per week. We may have to cut back on some of the foods the kids really enjoy. We'll do whatever is necessary to be in compliance."

The only problem is, at this point the school district isn't sure if the government will give schools any financial help to update their menus. Gottman hopes there will be some options to support school cafeterias across the country. And even if students don't support the more nutritional menus, Hannibal School District is all for it.

Gottman said, "As a school we're here for the kids and whatever we can do to support their health we'll do."

If the guidelines are passed it could be a few years before they actually take effect.