Childhood obesity is a huge problem in Middle Tennessee, so Metro Nashville Public Schools has been taking a hard look at what it serves its students in the lunch line.
The district is sidelining foods high in fat and sodium while it replaces them with healthier alternatives.
Spencer Taylor, director of nutrition services for Metro Schools, said one goal is to add colorful fruits and vegetables.
This push was inspired by first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, which is aimed at ending childhood obesity.
Starting this year, new USDA standards limit the number of calories students can have based on their grade level.
The guidelines also limit sodium and fat intake.
"We have had to change recipes. We had to cut down the fat in them. We pretty much had to remove frying in districts. Now, we only fry a little bit at our high schools, but we will discontinue that at end of this year so we won't be frying at all," Taylor said.
Taylor acknowledged students have been mixed on the changes so far, but he assures parents their students are getting enough to eat under the new guidelines.
"We are not just putting food on a plate. We are nutritionally analyzing all of our menus and seeing what we serve our kids," Taylor said.
And while the district has made some significant changes this year, Taylor said there's still much more to do.
"I will give us a ‘B-minus.' We are not 100 percent - we still have training to do, some attitudes to change and things we can do," Taylor said.
Also, next year, the district wants to post calorie information on the web for parents and students to see.
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