SPARKS, NV - Growling stomachs are sounding off in schools across the nation. The healthy school meal plan implemented by First Lady Michelle Obama now has kids tossing out their food, causing schools to lose money. How well are the kid in Washoe County taking it?
Healthy food, good taste and school lunches didn't always go hand in hand. The nutritional services, 47,000 meals are made each day and none of it goes to waste. Washoe County School District was ahead of the game, implementing healthy meal options at school in 2010, which is two years before the Obama administration stepped in. Unlike the rest of the nation, kids here are giving school lunches a big thumbs up.
Second graders at Robert Mitchell Elementary don't need french fries or a pizza to get excited about their school lunches.
"I like our school lunch because the milk gives us dairy and energy," said one eight-year-old boy.
Dairy along with fruits,vegetables, grains and protein are the main components of the "Healthy for Life" program that was implemented in the district four years ago.
"Instead of french fries, we have baked fries, baked potatoes, we have baked vegetables. we have healthy substitutions and that was attractive in the balance of the meal," said Bill Al Soussi, director of WCSD Nutritional Services Center.
A typical elementary school lunch would give your children a choice in an entree, a fresh fruit, milk and two sides.
"Eating is an energy. You got to eat the right food to produce energy," Al Soussi said
The district has seen up to a 10% increase in participation since 2010.
"Participation increased means the students are eating, more students are eating every day more, every week, every year."
The district says its success is mainly due to the educational programs embedded in the curriculum. Nutritional service members go to a school each month to demonstrate how to eat healthy to students.
"The students will accept and enjoy because it is a balanced meal and has all the nutrition necessary for all grades K-12," Al Soussi said.
The district spends more than $1.4 million on food every year. Al Soussi says as long as more students keep participating, it will offset the costs.