Back-to-school provides first test for new meal pattern

Atlanta school struggles with getting kids to try sweet potatoes.

Aug. 7—Three days into a school year in the first Georgia school system to serve lunches under new federal nutrition guidelines, things were going smoothly with a small catch.

Sweet potatoes.

"No matter what we've tried, it hasn't worked," said Peggy Lawrence, nutrition director for Rockdale County public schools.

She was sitting in the cafeteria of Rockdale Career Academy as hundreds of teens lined up for food at a serving counter remade with a new facade and bright colors to resemble a mall food court. Faced with a new government emphasis on fruits, vegetables and legumes, she rattled off her attempts to make sweet potatoes edible sounding just like Forrest Gump listing every way to serve shrimp.

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