- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
October 17, 2012
It's National School Lunch Week... and at schools around the country, meal programs continue to be tweaked to make them healthier to meet more stringent federal guidelines. The regulations that kicked in this year require more fruits, vegetables and whole grain items on meal trays in hopes of reducing a national obesity epidemic. WYPR’s Gwendolyn Glenn takes a look at one Baltimore school’s meals program, where a salad bar was added this year.
Gwendolyn Glenn: It’s lunchtime at City Neighbors High School and I’m standing at the salad bar where there’s romaine lettuce, carrots, grapes, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, broccoli and various types of salad dressing as well as crackers and croutons. Several students have already made a beeline to the salad bar and they say they like it a lot.
Students: There are a whole bunch of different choices. You can get grapes, anything you want. It’s really good. Yeah, I like the salad bar. It be hitting.
Glenn: Nearly 40 salad bars are set to be installed in district schools by the end of the term. Regulations require that they be a stand-alone, meal so they also include tuna and chicken salads. As for the regular food line, district dietitian Hope Wrenn says… Hope
Wrenn: We do offer hot meals but they are not the food our moms made, but the trend is to go back to cooking from scratch and offer more fresh foods.
Glenn: But the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables being served are not at the levels proposed in 2008 by well-known chef Tony Geraci, whose hiring to run the district’s nutrition department was met with enthusiastic fanfare and promises of drastic meal changes. Again Hope Wrenn.
Wrenn: I do believe that our push toward salad bars and the fresh fruit and vegetables may have stemmed from some of that excitement.
Glenn: Geraci left Baltimore two years ago, out of frustration he says, when many of his ideas were not implemented. Now he runs the Memphis school meals program. While here, he started the 33-acre Great Kids Farm with hopes of supplying some of the schools’ fresh fruits and vegetables. That didn’t happen before he left, but this week, sorrel greens from the farm are being taste-tested in schools for the salad bars. Salad bar coordinator Cheryl Carmona.
Cheryl Carmona: Having something like sorrel from the Great Kids Farm in the salad bar is exciting to me because that’s a locally grown, student grown vegetable. This is a way for kids to connect where their food comes from and how fresh vegetables can have enhanced taste and freshness.
Glenn: Although school officials cannot make students eat the healthier offerings, Wrenn says those who receive free or reduced meals, must select at least one fruit or vegetable for breakfast and lunch.
Wrenn: Previously they were not required to select them and I think it’s a good thing because once it becomes a habit, habits become life-long patterns.
Glenn: Federal regulations also require that rice and pasta dishes, and breads served in schools have a 100 percent whole grain content by 2014. Wrenn says other mandated changes involve sodium and students’ caloric content.
Wrenn: Now, we’re prescribing our calories based on the student’s age and grade. There are ranges set forth for elementary, middle and high school. And starting next year, we’re monitoring the sodium intake, so all of our foods will be lower in sodium.
Glenn: The efforts to make school meals healthier are getting mixed reviews from these City Neighbors’ tenth-graders.
Students: “Some days it’s really, really good and I like the salad bar.” “It’s nasty. It tastes like mystery meat and everything.” “We need to have cheeseburgers not veggie burgers.” “I only like the pizza. I don’t like nothing else, but they could make better food, like some fried chicken”
Glenn: The chicken these days is baked, the hamburgers can only have 10 percent fat and there are no fryers in schools. I’m Gwendolyn Glenn reporting in Baltimore for 88 1, WYPR.
You can reach the WYPR Newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN FOCUS TODAY
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 4:55am
Visions of a newly mobile and vibrant Baltimore could be derailed if the Red Line project fails...
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 6:35am
WYPR's Fraser Smith and Candy Thompson of the Baltimore Sun talk about why many are optimistic...
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 5:05am
The Baltimore City Council approved Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s $2.4 billion operating...