School lunches becoming healthier - WNEM TV 5

School lunches becoming healthier

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Many kids who have been sipping on soda and munching on junk food this summer will be eating much healthier when they go back to school.

"There's no salt in the cafeterias anymore," said Anthony Countegan.

Countegan is the chef manager for Sodexo Magic, which provides food services for the Saginaw School district. He came on board in 2010, when the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids" Act went into effect.

He said it took some kids, mainly the older ones, a while to get used to the idea of eating healthier. But now Countegan said most enjoy the healthier options.

"The kids have responded really well. Not a day goes by someone doesn't ask me for another piece of fruit," Countegan said.

More fruits and vegetables have been incorporated into school lunch programs.

Familiar favorites, like pizza, are still on the menu, but now, it's more nutritious than it used to be.

"The mozzarella cheese is a low fat mozzarella cheese. The pizza crust is 51percent whole grain, lower sodium sauce," Countegan said.

This school year they are doing something new to get older students excited about eating healthier. It's a concept called "Street Eatz" and the students at Saginaw High will be the first to give it a try."

"There's street tacos, chicken sliders, a mac and cheese and pasta menu. It's branded like a street truck with graffiti and loud colors that will really get the kids excited," Countegan said.

He said the program has been successful at introducing students to more nutritious foods.

It helps make sure kids have at least one healthy meal a day. But the hope is students will develop healthy eating habits that they will continue even when school is out.

"Their feeding habits are going to change throughout the course of their life. I think they make healthier options a priority," Countegan said.

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