There's a new lunch menu in town.
Schools across the state are shaking things up--adding more fruits and veggies to students' plates. Reporter Sarah Gustin has details on which foods your child will have to grab before leaving the lunch line.
School cafeterias across the nation are making lunch changes.
(Deb Egeland / ND Child Nutrition Programs) "The serving size of fruits and veggies has doubled from what it used to be and every tray that goes by the cash register has to have a vegetable on it to count."
The USDA is introducing new school meal requirements for the 2012-2013 school year. Assistant Director for Child Nutrition Programs in the state, Deb Egeland, says the biggest change will be getting more fruits and veggies on every tray.
(Deb Egeland / ND Child Nutrition Programs) "This one has milk, bread and fruit. So that would count. The student could take everything they could also take another bread and a vegetable. But, as long as they had at least a fruit or vegetable on the tray, then the tray would count."
During the school year, 77-thousand lunches are served in the roughly 440 buildings everyday.
Egeland says most of those lunches are dished up in small towns, a place where it's hard to offer a lot of choices.
(Deb Egeland / ND Child Nutrition Programs) "In Bismarck they have lots of different choices. Mandan too. Lots of different choices of fruits and vegetables that kids can find something that they like. It's a little tougher for my small towns. Before they might have just offered applesauce. But, now maybe they'll offer applesauce, peaches and apple juice. Something to try and entice the student to take a fruit."
While the serving size of fruits and veggies is up, there's a new limit on meats and breads.
(Deb Egeland / ND Child Nutrition Programs) "Absolutely no limit on fruits and vegetables. But, we do have a limit on bread and meat, so this might have been an old tray where they would have a big serving of spaghetti and meat balls and garlic toast, small amount of vegetables and fruits and milk. While our new regulation would change that it would be a smaller amount of spaghetti and meat balls. the bread would be grain and they would have a much bigger serving of vegetables and fruit."
Egeland says there is now also a calorie limit which varies depending on the age of the student.
Egleland says 21 million dollars is distrabuted to schools in the state to help cover meal costs. She says because fruits and vegetables are more expensive schools will be reimbursed 6 cents per meal. She says schools can lose their funding if they are serving trays without fruits and vegetables.