Pa. district looks for ways to discourage healthy food waste

Packaged apple slices seem to be a successful solution.

Oct. 23—Students in the Nazareth (Pa.) Area School District are having a hard time swallowing healthier lunch choices, and school administrators are looking for ways to stop the waste of food.

The problem of students throwing fruits such as apples and oranges and vegetables, including broccoli and Brussels sprouts, into the garbage was brought to the school board's attention by district food director Sharon Ryba. She said the administration "is looking at ways to correct that."

Schools Supt. Dennis Riker told the board that starting this school year, new federal guidelines require more fruits and vegetables in school lunches. He said students are buying those healthier lunches because they're cheaper than paying for certain lunch items separately. However, the students are discarding the fruits and vegetables, Riker said.

After the meeting, Riker said that so far, administrators have come up with only one idea to stop students from tossing the fruit portion of their lunches -- packaged apple slices. "We've found more students will take [the packaged slices] with them, instead of throwing them away," Riker noted.