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A School Lunch Ahead Of It�s Time

At Manlius Pebble Hill in DeWitt, healthy lunches are already a standard


By AJ Manderichio (DEWITT) – At Manlius Pebble Hill School in DeWitt, students aren’t just eating healthy lunches – they’re asking for them.

MPH, a private school, spent six years completely revamping its lunch menu to fit the needs of their students. Instead of fried chicken tenders and re-heated slices of cheese pizza, they offer their students fish and stew.

The federal government recently released new regulations for public school lunches, which will take effect next year. In them, they outline the need for students to receive more fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and an elimination of trans fats. These are already a standard with school lunches at MPH.

“They’re (the lunches) always pretty healthy,” freshman Jenea Butler said. “There’s always a salad bar, and the sandwiches use low fat meats. It’s better than most public schools.”

Healthy changes

Manlius Pebble Hill food service director Mary Judd said the school started to change it’s lunches after various committees suggested reforms. The school started to change the menu, offering two full service salad bars. It also aimed to make soups and sandwiches healthy, switching to low fat meats.

The need for healthy lunches drew the interest of junior Matt Engel. He admitted he used to be one of the many overweight teens in America, but learned about the benefits of eating healthier meals. He brought that passion back to the school, and finds students want those options.

“I have had several comments from my friends – and even people that I’ve never spoken to before – that they really enjoy this stuff and want to continue,” he said.

Engel works with Judd each week, brainstorming a new lunch menu. He believes these small changes, like offering other options, will begin to change the way students view food.

“Most people will find that, as they continue to make those healthy choices, they actually feel a lot better and start to crave those healthy choices,” he said.

Nutrition instructor Jane Uzcategui agreed with Engel’s opinion, saying that gradual differences will make the most change.

“When we look at revamping school lunch or eating habits, people feel overwhelmed,” she said. “They feel like it has to be so difficult. And what’s important is really small, gradual changes so that you don’t even realize that changes are being made. Then, all of a sudden, everything comes back into balance.”


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