Students slow to adapt to healthier food options

Declining interest in healthier food items in schools are leading some to drop out of federal meal programs.

LA CROSSE, Wis.—Area students seem to have a hard time swallowing the idea of a healthier lunch.

School kitchens tweaked menus to meet new federal guidelines demanding less sugar, fewer calories and more nutritious meals. At Coulee Region school districts, however, adoption of the new, U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved diet was followed by fluctuating participation in school meal programs.

Opinions vary on the cause of the drop-off, but declining interest in school meals among area students follows state and national trends in the wake of sugar-restricting, calorie-cutting and vegetable-pushing rules for K-12 cafeterias.