Schools could get more choices for feeding picky eaters

Children eating school lunch at table.
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NORRIS, Tenn. (WVLT) - Proposed changes to school lunch guidelines could give lunchrooms more latitude to offer foods such as vegetables.

In Anderson County, Nutrition Program Director Margaret Burrell said, "What they're doing is they're emphasizing a lot of red orange and dark green and they're leaving out things like beans and things like that that have protein. So, instead of us having to do a maximum or minimum amount of certain colored vegetables, we get to choose, maybe we add more beans." Burrell said the schools will continue to offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for children.

When asked about their preferences, some children at Norris Elementary School said they would eat the fruits and vegetables, while other said they will choose them but not necessarily eat them, and others bring their own lunch.

When Radek was asked what vegetable he would prefer to eat, he said, "I'd say maybe peppers."

Ashton said she generally brings her lunch because she does not like the school vegetables. "Well, they don't really have any of the vegetables that I like here. I'm kind of a picky eater. I'll eat some vegetables, but I won't eat that much."

Cafeteria Manager Andrew Shaw said she is constantly trying to fresh approaches to make food tasty for kids. For instance, she offers broccoli fresh, steamed and a third way. "We steam it in our steamer and we add Parmesan cheese and some Italian seasoning. The kids really like it."

Wyatt explained that children are required to pick at least one fruit or vegetable for their lunch tray. "Well, you have to pick one to make a full lunch, but you don't have to eat it. You know, the peaches? I don't really eat 'em."

The looser rules, if they go into effect, would give lunchrooms more options to entice even the pickiest eaters.

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