Calif. schools ahead of the new meal pattern regs

Schools started adding in healthy options five years ago.

March 6—Last month, when President Obama signed into law an update of the Federal School Lunch program, changing dietary standards to include more fresh foods and healthier choices for school kids, local Petaluma School officials [in California] could only smile. They had been working on the problem and changing the menu at local schools for five years.

“We started replacing the junk food with fresh fruits and vegetables years ago,” said Kenilworth Junior High School kitchen manager Jackie Watt. “Changes take time, but we have been successful in educating kids and their parents about healthy diets. Things are definitely better today than they were when I came here.”

Watt has been with Kenilworth for eight years and credited Ray DiGiamo, the Petaluma Schools' Food Services Supervisor, with creating the change taking place in the kitchens and food centers of the schools.