Students at JeffCo Public Schools get healthier food options

The district’s executive chef is preparing more items from scratch this year.

LAKEWOOD, Colo.—School lunches have not had the best reputation over the years.

But Jeffco Public Schools officials said they're pushing to make the meals better tasting and healthier as new U.S. Department of Agricultural nutritional standards continue to be rolled out.

This year, the Smart Snacks in School program mandates less sodium and more fruits and vegetables be served. Calorie, fat, sugar and sodium limits will be placed on snacks and drinks sold in school vending machines and elsewhere on school grounds.

It's part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010 to help combat childhood obesity.

Standing in the district's central kitchen at 809 Quail St. in Lakewood last week, Yuri Sanow, Jeffco's executive chef, talked about the challenges of preparing 38,500 meals a day that meet nutritional requirements while clearing the highest bar of all — whether or not kids eat and enjoy the meal.