by L. Gaither, Fort Zumwalt North High
First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to get children to eat their vegetables mirrors a decision made 4 years ago by Saint Louis County’s Fort Zumwalt School District. Gone from lunches are most fried foods. Instead, students choose from salad bars, multiple vegetables and baked entrees. Teen favorite French fires are limited to just once a week.
The District decided in 2005 to lower the amounts of sugars, fats and salt in student lunches, according to Janice Granicke with the District Food Service Department. A committee composed of parents, dieticians, students, and school board members recommended a menu that contains 50% less salt; replaces beef with turkey, includes fresh vegetables, fruits and salads daily; and uses fruits canned in light syrup.
Celebrity chef Alice Waters is widely credited with launching the healthy school lunch movement. In the mid-90’s, she started the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, CA. “If we don’t go into the public school system and if we don’t teach [about healthy foods] to every child, there are going to be many, many people left behind.” Waters told USA Today in 2007.