FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning Schools are joining those across the nation in changing the meals they serve students. The goal, said Ginny Sims, Fort Benning food service director, is to combat childhood obesity.

The changes are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which focuses on improving children's nutrition based on the 2010 American dietary guidelines, Sims said.

"This is the first time that we've had to go by calories, salt and fat, and then sugar," Sims said about the new changes.

Many of the changes will occur gradually, she said, such as decreasing the salt intake. Changes that start this year include switching regular milk to 1 percent and flavored milk, such as chocolate, to fat-free milk. Age-appropriate proportion sizes will be served and students will see more fruits and vegetables, Sims said.

"Now they have their own category … (before) you had to give them three -quarters cup of fruit or vegetables or a mixture. Now they have to have a half a cup of each," she said.

Vegetables may be chosen from the red-orange vegetable category, the leafy green category and from dry beans and lentils, she said.

Fort Benning Schools are also taking the initiative to change 100 percent of the grains to whole wheat, Sims said.
Foods bought a la carte during lunch will also change, Sims said.

"In years past, we have always sold ice cream -- we're not going to sell ice cream this year," she said. "We're going to only sell healthy snacks, (such as) water, juice and yogurt."

Even with all of the healthy food changes, the monthly birthday cake and ice cream are here to stay.

"We can borrow calories from one day to the next, as long as we don't exceed the week," she said.

Some of the changes may be quite a switch for students, especially with the vegetables, Sims said. She recommends parents continue to introduce their children to a variety of vegetables to make it easier for them.

For more information about the school menu changes, call 706-545-8266. School breakfast and lunch menus can be found at www.am.dodea.edu/benning/Studentinfo/foodservice.html.

Page last updated Thu August 16th, 2012 at 17:16