Local School Lunches Healthier

By Matt Porter

November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 7:23 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A little more than half of all secondary schools do not offer fruits or vegetables as optional snack options in the US according to a new report from the Pew Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations.

But in Broome-Tioga school districts, they do.

Registered dietician Julie Tucker works every day to make sure students are getting the right food.

"A lot of the fresh fruit that we serve," said Tucker, "It's cut up, it makes it easier to eat. It's more like a finger food to them."

Tucker said schools need to watch student diets because even small increases have a big effect.

"Increasing calories, you know, 150 calories more a day can definitely make a difference in a child's weight over a long period of time," she said.

Broome and Tioga schools have met some of the strictest standards when it comes to healthy options according to food services director Mark Bordeau.

"All of our elementary schools either follow Healthier USA or Alliance for USA for snacks," Bordeau said, "So we've really aligned our snack foods with our standards."

Bordeau, who works with legislators, said meeting the new higher standards is possible but doesn't happen overnight,

"I just think USDA really pushed it out a little more quickly than they should have," he said. "They should have given us a little more time for the market to catch up again so we can work with our local purveyors."

For the people at Broome-Tioga BOCES, they've been working for seven years to go from fried food to fit food.

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