Metro schools overhauls lunch menus for healthier options - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Metro schools overhauls lunch menus for healthier options

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Veggie burgers, spaghetti with whole grain breadsticks and even flatbread pizza sound like dishes you might order at a nice restaurant. But you'll also find them in the lunch rooms in Metro schools.

The district is making a big push to offer healthy, tasty options at lunch.

During a tour of the kitchen at Haynes Middle School, chef Jenna LeQuire, with Metro's nutrition services department, described some of the dishes on that day's menu.

"We're doing an orange glaze, so it's going to bring sweetness out. So that flavor you'd get with salt, you'll get it with sweetness instead," LeQuire said. "We're trying to go more natural ingredients and less canned. More fresh or frozen vegetables."

Metro schools, like other districts, has to meet nutritional guidelines set by the FDA, so processed foods, salt and sodium are sidelined.

On this day, Haynes students could choose between Santa Fe casserole with whole grain rolls or barbecue riblets with homemade barbecue sauce.

LeQuire is a professional chef who brings years of experience in kitchens in Las Vegas and New York to the school district.

Since she arrived more than two years ago, she's worked with leaders to overhaul school menus. She now travels to every school's kitchen to teach healthy cooking techniques.

"Our hope is that they'll bring it home. So if their parents bring it to the table, or they go to the grocery store, they'll say, 'Oh, mom, can we have that? We had kiwi at school, can we try it,'" LeQuire said.

The district says, overall, it has had good feedback about the menu changes.

The younger kids, those in elementary school, are loving the new options. In some cases the older kids who used to have fewer of the healthy options are taking a little more time to warm up to the idea.

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