Washoe County School District is getting recognition for making major changes to its school lunches.
The Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine gave Washoe County an 88 percent on the nutritional value of school lunches this year. That's up 22 points from the 66 it scored in 2008. The boost in scores also snagged Washoe County the "Most Improved District" award for 2012.
"We have completely revamped our menu, adding more [whole] grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to the menu," WCSD Nutritional Services Director Tony Cook said. "We thought we were doing a good job, but it's great to have that validated by other sources."
School lunches in Washoe County now have fresh fruits and vegetables rather than canned ones, more whole grains, less fat, lower sodium, and fewer desserts. The district started making these changes in 2010, phasing out the foods with little nutritional value and tweaking other kid favorites, like pizza, to make them healthier.
Cook said there was some opposition at first, from kids who didn't love the idea of eating broccoli or spinach salad in their lunches. But due to nutrition education programs and repeated exposure to healthy foods, he said the kids are getting on board.
"Nutrition is a vital part of them making the right choices and the right decisions for their lives," he said.
Cook said about one third of Washoe County students are considered overweight or obese. This is the first time in 15 years that school lunch standards have been changed.
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