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West Metro School Opts out of Federal Lunch Program

Updated: 05/21/2014 8:35 PM
Created: 05/21/2014 5:22 PM KSTP.com
By: Ellen McNamara

Starting in the fall, a west metro high school will no longer be part of the national school lunch program.

The program has calorie guidelines and requires that every student has a vegetable or piece of fruit on their tray.

Eighty percent of kids at Wayzata High School do some sort of activity. Many of the kids do a number of activities. They are burning a ton of calories, and 750-850 is not enough to power them through their long day, according to school officials.

"You can imagine we have such activity levels here that that's been really challenging for the students to get enough food," said Mary Anderson, Director of Culinary Express at the high school.

For two years, the high school will be part of a pilot program where they no longer receive federal funding for their lunch program.

After the school looked at numbers on paper, they found that kids participating in the lunch program decreased by nine percent. The district says it would be more beneficial to leave the program than stay on.

The school has also seen more waste because the federal program requires that kids take a piece of fruit or have a vegetable on their tray.

The high school will still offer healthy options and a registered dietician will help with meal planning, but they will not make a kid take something that they do not plan to eat.

Anderson says more homemade recipes will make a come back.

"I think what you're going to see with the program are probably the resurgence of some recipes that we no longer offered," Anderson said. "We have a tremendous homemade recipe for lasagna."

The elementary and middle schools in Wayzata will continue to be part of the federal program.

As for the high school, it will be off the federal program for two years, and then the district can re-evaluate things.


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