The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

April 20, 2013

Mankato school lunches a healthful work in progress

Students saw a lot of changes in menu this year



Schirmers said that, in previous years, students who finished their meal and were still hungry had access to peanut butter and bread. The calorie limits, however, have removed that option. This was part of what some parents had complained about.

Erin Gonzalez, a dietitian with the Mankato Clinic who works with the school district on its menu, said the complaints she heard about came from parents of high school students who probably should have been taking a more active role in what their students were eating.

“School lunch isn’t meant to fuel all day long; it’s one meal, and 650 calories is perfectly adequate for one meal,” she said.

Parents should be providing their student athletes with snacks between meals.

“You can’t expect school lunches to feed an athlete,” she said.

Schirmers said the big changes in the school lunch menu were implemented this year, and next year students won’t see much change. The school will continue to taste test new foods, though, and to teach kids about healthful eating.

“Our goal is to educate kids in the classrooms and in the cafeteria so they understand everything that’s available to them,” Gonzalez said.

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