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New School Lunch Guidelines - Challenges of Implementing Changes

By DON SHIPMAN

The new USDA guidelines for school lunches are presenting some challenges for some school districts.

The new rules call for more fruits and vegetables, reduced fats and a limit on calories depending on grade level. Portion sizes are being measured precisely and not all local schools have calorie counting software which can make the job difficult.

In the Holland Patent School District, that tasty pizza is out and a whole grain, low sodium chicken fajita is in.

"Some of their portion sizes will be different," said Kate Dorr who is the Assistant School Lunch Director for Oneida County BOCES. "On occasion it might be a little bit larger than last year at the high school level, but for the most part, they are smaller portions."

Cafeteria attendants are literally counting calories. Fortunately, Holland Patent's kitchen is equipped with a computer program that does it for them.

"For us, it's not a lot work," said Dorr. "For some of the smaller districts that don't have this software program, they are going to have to actually figure out calories for each lunch and it is going to be a lot of work for them."

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