July 24, 2014 - 06:39
     
Free lunches could be coming
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Wellness Policy eyes healthier students
Polk County Schools may be able to provide free lunch for all students if a grant is approved. Director of Schools D. James Jones said he was excited about the possibility of filling such a great need for the community.
According to Jones, the school system already provides breakfast and a cafeteria director from the state will be visiting to analyze the program to see if it would still be profitable with the free lunch program. Jones said the school system would be reimbursed for the costs of the lunches, but they have to make sure no money would be lost.
School lunch changes are already occurring in order to encourage healthier students. Jones said calorie intake and other health factors are important and a part of regulations that have been implemented in recent years.
At Monday night’s School Board meeting, Corina Jones, Coordinated Schools Health Director, talked to the board about upcoming changes in the Wellness Policy for the schools. She explained some changes would have to be made, including the selling of food outside of school. Mrs. Jones said food sold for fundraising or outside of the cafeteria had to meet the standards for the state.
Among the specifications for school food, she said, individual foods must be no more than 200 calories, 35% of calories from fat, and less than 10% saturated fat. Foods can have no more than 35% of its weight from sugars and have no more than 230 mg. Sodium per serving. Soups can contain up to 600 mg sodium. A choice of at least two fruits or non-fried vegetables will be offered for sale on school site.
Mrs. Jones said students will need to be provided with a variety of opportunies for daily physical activity. She said in the past the students walking to classes was counted as physical activity, but that can no longer be done. All students shall receive a minimum of 90 minutes physical education or activities per week for the entire school year.

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