Some schools are considering a meal plan that includes all you can eat fruits and vegetables for school lunches.
In Maryland, Montgomery County Council President Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown and Vice President George L. Leventhal (D- At Large) of Takoma Park sent Superintendent Joshua P. Starr a letter on Monday, advocating for support of their Healthy Food Program for Students.
According to the letter, the council members have worked closely with the nonprofit organization Real Food for Kids – Montgomery while drafting their MCPS Strategic Plan. The plan seeks to help students “make constructive and healthy decisions that promote hope, personal well-being, and social behavior.”
Unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables
One recommendation in the plan is offering unlimited fruits and vegetables for free to all students who purchase lunch.
Marla Caplon, director of the district’s Division of Food and Nutrition Services, said there is already a wellness policy in place within the school system.
Caplon said that at $1.25 per meal — what the school system charges — it would be “absolutely impossible” to offer unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables. All meals already include a fruit and vegetable option, Caplon said.
Other recommendations in the letter from Rice and Leventhal include:
• Easier access to unlimited water other than numerous trips to the water fountain
• Offering at least one meal per day that is “scratch-cooked food” or not typical “junk food” (pizza, chicken nuggets, hot dogs)
• Removing from foods all chemicals listed “caution” or “avoid” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest
• Setting an upper limit on sugars in foods based on recommendations by the American Heart Association
• Replacing items on vending and a la carte lists of foods with healthier choices
• Providing transparency by having all items sold and served to children appear on monthly menus; send parents a list at the beginning of the school year of all a la carte items sold at the school.
Rice said he and Leventhal want to keep pushing the school system to provide healthier options.
He said that as they learn more about how food affects children, they want to do more to make sure schools provide the healthiest food.
Read more about healthiest food for children
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