New nutrition director making changes at Metro schools - WSMV News 4

New nutrition director making changes at Metro schools

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If you have a child in Metro schools, you may have heard a complaint or two about lunch.

Now there's a new man in charge with big plans for nutrition, and it could mean some changes are coming.

With just a few weeks on the job, Spencer Taylor already has a good idea what students and parents think about school lunches in Nashville.

"We want to set a pace for Tennessee," said Taylor, the system's nutrition director. "We've de-fatted a lot of things. We've taken the sugar out.

"It's going to take a little time for everybody to get used to the new changes."

This year, for the first time in more than a decade, the federal government changed its standards, better limiting fat, sodium and calories.

Critics said it tanked the taste, but Taylor told us not to give up yet.

"Metro has a history of testing," said Taylor. "We just need to make sure that if we make any changes, then we need to go out and make sure that we get a sample, and that it goes over well. We definitely don't want to put something out there that we feel are good, but aren't necessarily satisfying to kids."

So far this year, the district tested tilapia and fruit smoothies. Both were hits.

Other students will soon try whole wheat cornbread and taco soup - all of it to meet standards that some see as a stretch.

"A lot of times, especially in this region, when you take out salt or you take out fat, you take out a lot of taste," said Taylor.

That's why Taylor said the district will continue adjust recipes, add new spices and listen to the students.

"Since we're dealing with the student population, we want to make sure we bring them along, educate them and still address the things that they desire," said Taylor.

That makes for a tough balance, not only for students, but also for parents.

"I think that sometimes when changes like this get made, parents may not understand, especially if the kids aren't able to explain it," said Taylor. "So, if at any point, they have any questions, they just need to contact us. It starts with the school."

Metro school cafeterias provide about 12 million meals every school year. The district allows parents to join their students for lunch.

Contact your child's school if you'd like to see and sample the changes.

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