School nutritionists from across the Commonwealth are trying to get more students to eat healthier meals during the instructional day. About 700 school cooks, managers, and administrators are meeting for a statewide conference this week in Lexington.
Kentucky School Nutrition Association President Sabrina Jewell says 17 thousand fewer meals are being served at schools across the state. "Because our program is federally funded, we're based off of participation. So, if they don't eat, then we don't have the money to run our programs. General school taxes and all, they don't pay for school nutrition. We're paid off of the meals that we serve," said Jewell.
Jewell says kids are adjusting to healthier menus mandated by federal guideline changes enacted in 2010. She says elementary aged children have adjusted to the changes better than middle and high schoolers. "If you've personally made a switch from white bread to whole grain or whole wheat bread, there's a texture difference, there's a taste difference. It smells different. When you take kids from something like that to whole grain, and they go hummm, I don't know if I like that brown stuff," added Jewell.
Jewell says many upper grade students are going without food during the school day, while others may be going off campus.