St. Paul district serves as nutrition example

Impressive group visits to take notes on district's success.

March 28—Amid some national buzz about the St. Paul (Minn.) district's nutrition program, an official delegation invited itself over to St. Paul's Crossroads Elementary for lunch. There was a head honcho from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a smattering of legislative aides and a pediatrician from the Mayo Clinic.

They spoke of whole-wheat pumpkin muffins, organic flaxseed and grass-fed turkeys. They dined on coconut chicken with brown rice and vegetables.

They came to learn more about the district's all-out health-food kick and its bid to get a head start on stricter federal school lunch rules, announced earlier this year. Last fall, Nutrition Services Director Jean Ronnei snagged the "Golden Carrot" prize by the national nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.