Rewarded For Healthy Lunches

By Kelly McCarthy

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM EDT

Apalachin, NY (WBNG Binghamton) School across the country continue to push for healthy school lunches. Many schools in our area were recognized with a Healthy U.S. School Challenge Award based on those efforts.

Students were enjoying their lunches and didn't seem to mind the fact that almost every item on the tray was a healthy choice.

"Somebody wanted my cucumbers and she wanted to give me her yogurt," said 1st grader David Bond.

A common game at the lunch table, but here the final result is surprising.

"Why did you want to keep your cucumbers?"

"Because they're healthy," said Bond.

Giving students more say at the lunch table and in the lunch line.

"We shoot for five components and they have the option to take so many of those components to make a complete meal for their lunch," said Tom Nunn, Food Service Director for the Owego Apalachin School District.

"They say you have to have at least three things on your plate, not just milk and the main course. You can have more but you have to have at least three," said Madison Close in 4th Grade.

As menu options at the cafeteria continue to get healthier, A student's tray begins to look a little different.

"You see more whole grains on the menu, more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the milk being, all our flavor milk is skim milk and any white milk is 1%," said Nunn.

The healthier school lunch option still keeps kids full for the rest of the day, but also puts a little bit more color on their plate

"Well it's sort of like the colors of a rainbow I guess," said Close.

"I see red apples, a tan sandwich, and orange fruits," said Leigha Shaughnessy in 4th Grade.

The school is following strict guidelines suggested by the USDA that doesn't come cheap..

"You do see an extra cost, but we think it's worth the extra cost to provide the kids with the meals we do," said Nunn.

Being a Team Nutrition school is a three part-process.

They're scored on food nutrition, physical education, and nutritional education.

Apalachin Elementary won the bronze medal award.

Apalachin Elementary received $500 and a banner for winning the bronze award in the U.S. Healthy School Challenge Award.

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