Students seeing smaller, more nutritious portions as district changes lunch menus

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

They may still have fries, but they'll be oven-baked, not fried.

With the recent release of the School Nutrition Association's 'Local Wellness Policy' recommendations, Butler County's schools have had to take a pro-active approach to feeding its children.

"We have already stopped using the deep-fat fryers, and have installed two new convection ovens at McKenzie High School and Georgiana High School," Butler County Schools' Superintendent Mike Looney said. "We feel that this will help us to reach that goal of providing more nutritious and lower-fat content items to our students."

Federal law now states that by the first day of the 2006 school year, all schools must develop a local wellness policy that involves parents, students, a representative from the School Food Authority, the school board, school administrators and the public.

All of this should be kept in mind as Alabama was recently named the "most obese state" in the nation.

According to Lou Davison, Butler County Child Nutrition Program director, the two new convection ovens at McKenzie High School and Georgiana High School will allow the staff to steam foods.

"The other five schools, R.L. Austin, Greenville Elementary, W.O. Parmer, Greenville High and Greenville Middle, all have combi ovens, which actually do more than a convection oven," Davison said. "You can still fry in it, but you don't have to use oil."

Davison said that separate menus must be planned for each school because of the different grade levels, even though they will still have a lot of the same items to offer the kids.

Some of the changes are not being completely welcomed by everyone, including the students.

A la Carte items will now be portioned to three-ounce servings, and no drink items larger than 12 ounces, except for water, will be served.

"Every time I go home, I'm still hungry," Santana Hall, GHS senior, said. "You have to pay for the extra portions that you want to get, and I really miss the french fries. We haven't had any this year."