Bismarck Schools Respond Well to National School Lunch Program - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Bismarck Schools Respond Well to National School Lunch Program

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Back to school means back to school lunches for most students.

The National School Lunch Program has been in effect since last fall.

And schools in North Dakota say for the most part, it's been a success.

Steph Scheurer has the details.

In Bismarck, High school students have varying opinions when it comes to school lunch.

"The school lunches here are fantastic."

"I like some of the choices but not all of them. Some of them just don't taste good."

"I go out to lunch a lot."

"It's easier just to eat here. It's not awful food."

The National School Lunch Program went into effect last fall.

It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches to students each day.

"Students have to take a fruit or vegetable as part of the reimbursable meal so there certainly have been changes to the menu. But I think good changes," says Doug Joersz, Food Service Coordinator.

However, according to statistics in a CBS news article, many schools in the U.S. are now opting out of this program due to costs and wasted food.

We were curious if schools in Bismarck are seeing more food going from trays to trash.

"It was a challenge but it's been pretty well received and I think we've come out on the other end pretty well. I think kids are doing just fine with it. There might be a little increased plate waste at maybe the elementary level but I think students have accepted it pretty well," says Doug Joersz, Food Service Coordinator.

"Initially, I think that we had a lot of grease in our meals and now, they've done a really nice job of taking that out so I think that kids are eating healthier and they don't realize that the pizza is whole wheat. I mean they're starting to, you know, they just eat healthier and so I think the impact has been positive," says Michele Svihovec, Principal at Centennial Elementary School.

Deb Egeland, Assistant Director of Child Nutrition Programs says only two schools in North Dakota dropped out of the program not because of the food changes, but because they have so few students.

Schools say overall, the change has been positive and they plan to stick with this healthier program.

In Bismarck for KX News, I'm Steph Scheurer.

According to Deb Egeland, the only complaints received were regarding the limit on grains and protein.

Senator John Hoeven started the Sensible School Lunch Act which will permanently eliminate the restrictions on grain and protein in school lunches beginning December 31st of this year.

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