PELHAM, N.Y. Pelham students are being served healthier menu options in the cafeteria this year.
School meals across the country are getting a makeover, as required by the United States Department of Agriculture. The new meal requirements, announced in January, will raise nutritional standards for the first time in more than 15 years and are intended to improve the health and nutrition of the nearly 32 million children who participate in school meal programs.
In Pelham, changes include serving whole wheat, thin-crust pizza from Pelham Pizza, instead of the regular thick-crust variety. The districts dining service, Chartwells, presented the changes during a recent school board meeting.
Board president Lisa Kiernan was particularly impressed by the new pizza.
It looks great, she said.
Other new federal guidelines include banning milk with more than 1 percent fat and requiring that all flavored milk, including chocolate milk, be fat-free. In addition, schools that do not have water fountains in their cafeterias must provide water with cups. Use of starches in school lunches is also being cut back significantly under the new rules.
The requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the first lady Michelle Obama as part of her Lets Move! campaign and signed into law by her husband, President Barack Obama.
Many other local school districts, including Yorktown and Peekskill, have already taken measures to make school meals healthier.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.