WILMINGTON -- What are your kids eating at school? New research from the University of Minnesota suggests kids are choosing to eat nutritious foods over unhealthy options. But does that ring true in our area? Every day Myrtle Grove Middle School students are faced with lots of option for lunch. Some healthy, some not so healthy. So what did they choose? While all of the food offered in the cafeteria meets federal and state nutrition guidelines, the kids we spoke with weren't overly impressed with the healthy options available. Physical education teacher Sally Meserole has been keeping track of the school lunch menu over the past few years. While she applauds the elimination of deep fryers from elementary and middle schools she thinks the school system has a long way to go to entice kids to make healthier choices. She wants the school system to eliminate the ala carte menu, and instead offer two complete balanced meal choices each day. "They have so many choices that it's difficult for them to say no to the pizza and the french fries while they're there. They do try to limit the number of times a week they're offered, and that's a step in the right direction," Messerole said. School Nutrition Director Imer Smith believes overall, kids make healthy choices and defends the school's offerings. "We do tossed salads every day. The burgers were on whole-wheat bread. The cheese on the burger was low fat. The burger itself meets the total saturated fat requirements," Smith said. "A few of them are making good choices. But there's a lot of cookies going down the hatch as well." The nutrition director said that it can be challenging to make foods healthier and still meet federal guidelines. Because even though there are limits on fat and cholesterol, there are minimum requirements for caloric count. So if they trim too much fat, for example, they won't meet the required number of calories.
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