Published Fri, Jan 27, 2012 9:30 am Dateline
First Lady Michelle Obama's Healthy Food Initiative is inspiring some Southeast Ohio school districts to provide healthier lunch choices for students.
The ultimate goal of Zane Trace District's menu change is to educate the elementary school student taste buds to want healthier foods.
Zane Trace School District Cafeteria Director Robert Dunn says if schools can condition the younger students taste buds now, healthy food choices will be a habit by the time they are in high school.
"We're not going to change the minds of the juniors and seniors, but if we catch these elementary and kindergarteners and condition their taste buds to what's good for them, by the time they're juniors and seniors it will be common place for them," says Dunn.
Vendors now provide school districts with whole grain bread options that are more sweet to the taste than enriched bread products.
Roughly 44 percent of the students in the Zane Trace School District qualify for federally subsidized free and reduced lunches.
Families qualify based on an income survey facilitated by the national government.
That number has increased from 28 percent five years ago.
To help students jump on the nutritional band wagon, Zane Trace Schools have standardized the cost of vended drinks, set at one dollar, and lowered the cost of water.
Dunn says that the change should have come a long time ago.