Healthy eating costs going up for schools

WILMINGTON -- It's tempting to go for those French fries over a piece of fruit at lunchtime, no matter how old you are. But children have to choose from what schools supply, and quite simply, healthier food costs more. Food costs go up every year for New Hanover County schools and it's a growing challenge for the school system. As Anderson Elementary students eagerly move through the lunch line, they probably aren't thinking about how much their food costs. But Imer Smith is. She's the director of child nutrition for New Hanover County schools. She says there has been a dramatic increase in produce costs this year, but emphasizes its importance for growing children. "In our cafeteria lines we have fresh fruit, chilled fruit every day, a salad everyday. We just introduced a chef salad this year and also we offer a variety of vegetables offered daily," Smith said. While it may be cheaper to buy less healthy foods, Smith says when it comes to kids' nutrition, money isn't everything. Smith said, "With prices increasing, especially with produce, you are going to expect that. Then you've got to look at the nutritional base of why you're offering a healthier choice." Not only are food costs increasing, but state standards limit the amount of popular ala carte items that typically generate a lot of money. Smith says this hasn't caused much loss in New Hanover County -- yet. "You just have to make up the difference and think of creative ways to gain that revenue back," Smith said. Smith expects to pay four percent more in food costs next year, but is determined to keep the healthy food available -- and junk food limited -- for New Hanover County kids. To help prevent a big loss of money lunch costs will most likely go up. New Hanover County school lunches cost anywhere from $1.65 to $2 for students.

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I have a son in elementary school in NHC and he LOVES the salads. I am thankful for the healthy choices for the kids. I have been to lunch with my son, many times over the last 4 years and the cafeteria is clean and neat and the food is good. I pay full price for my son to eat and DO NOT think it is too pricy. And if I did, then it would be up to ME to fix his lunch and send it with him... I congratulate Mrs. Smith for her hard work in putting together meal plans that are nutritious yet fun and tasty. Thank you
I read an article in a magazine regarding a principle at a school in the U.S. who changed what was served in the school. No sugar No fat. A godmother brought cupcakes to school for her godchild's birthday but it was denied since the school is sugarfree & fat free. Since the principle began this program in 1999, disruptive behaviors, detentions, etc. have decreased by at least 65%. This principle has proven that even though it costs more to purchase nutritious food it has saved tremendous amounts of money & time dealing with children who don't behave. Plus their grades have improved 2-fold. Let's make our children top priority instead of thinking it costs too much.
it is very important that the children are fed a nutritious meal so that they can have good eating habits instilled in them. Obesity is a big problem in America and what they eat is almost as important as what they learn.
The heathly food kick is great for kids and adults all together. But, Have you really been in aschool they are awful. They aren't clean. All the supplies they ask for at the being of school year. Where are they in the teacher's lounge. Have you ever thought about cutting back serving fresh fruit and salad everyday. Would you like to eat that everyday??? Now I am all for kids eating right, I try very hard in my family. But, People seem to just say the cost is going up. and just stand for it. People complain about gas prices. Get off the road... Cut your trips back. I drive 64 miles a day round trip to work and home. I go to Walmart on my way. Not after I get home. If we keep buying high $ gas. The more the suppliers will say they will pay.... Well maybe we won't find other ways. Maybe the lunch rooms should think of that. Do a study on how much is thrown in the trash????