Maine children choosing healthy menu options

Students appreciate district's push toward healthy items.

March 19—Late in her sophomore year at Windham High School, Michaila Brown noticed changes in the lunchtime menu, with more healthy options offered. And that’s something Brown, now a senior, says she and her fellow students approve of and appreciate.

“It was a noticeable change,” Brown said. “Some people have been choosing salads and wraps over pizza and chicken burgers. I think it’s really helpful, helping us choose healthier food instead of having greasy pizza all the time.”

March is National Nutrition Month, promoted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. However, in the Windham-Raymond Regional School Unit14 district, which feeds an average of 1,700 students a day, directors of the school lunch program are thinking healthy every month.

What Brown noticed in her sophomore year was a concerted effort, which has only grown in intensity. A push toward whole grains, lower sodium and less processed food is afoot. Last summer, in a training session known as “boot camp,” the 25 district food service employees learned how to make new recipes for healthier lunches. Among the more popular new items are quesadillas.