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luynch300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 5:01pm.

Ever wonder what your kids are really eating in the school lunchroom? A local company has discovered a way for you to find out. A Wilmington company created a website for parents to keep track of what their kids are eating for lunch. "It's another opportunity for the school district to communicate with the parents,” said Education Management Systems CEO Ben Hooks. Local schools are jumping on board. "We just wanted to establish another payment method for parents to make it a little easier for them to pay for their children's meals,” said Tina Ward, the director of child nutrition for Brunswick County. Parents can sign up at lunchprepay.com. For ten dollars a year, they have access to the cafeteria menu and their child's meal history, and be able to deposit money in a child's prepaid account. "You know that the money winds up in the lunchroom, it doesn't wind up getting lost, it doesn't wind up getting spent on anything else,” Hooks said. By swiping their student ID at the cash register, their purchases show up on the site. Parents can limit their child's choices. For example, they may allow only one ice cream purchase per week. "I’ve got with four kids I think it's important for me to be able to track what they're eating cause I can't be there I’m not in the lunch line, I want them to be healthy, I try to be healthy, I try to teach healthy habits so the idea of being able to do that in some sort of automated fashion is very interesting and intriguing,” said Paul Snyder. The system doesn't mean kids won't find another way to sneak junk food. Brunswick County's director of nutrition hopes it will lead parents and kids to healthier eating habits. "Everybody that we've talked to that has used it, they're just thrilled with it, it's made their life a lot easier,” Ward said. Lunchprepay.com is available to hundreds of schools in 29 states. Locally, New Hanover, Brunswick and Bladen counties take part.

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