Food services director explains how families can voice opinions on school lunch guidelines

Inside Trinity High School’s cafeteria, you’ll find a variety of food.

“These are more of a brown color. These are already modified to meet the school meal program,” said Nicolle Pleil who is the Trinity Area Food Services Director.

There are your favorites, but with a twist adding in whole grains, fat-free and less sugar. But the federal government says that’s not enough when it comes to kid’s health.

“Ketchup, salsa, salad dressings, condiments in general they are significantly sodium-filled,” Pleil said.

That’s all on the chopping block plus lunch meats and cheeses. The USDA has new guidelines for cutting sodium levels and reducing sugar for school meals.

Pleil told Channel 11 everyone wants to put health first for the kids, but taking these options away is not the answer.

“Looking at the meal pattern for the next school year, we are wondering if we are going to be feeding more garbage cans than students,” Pleil said.

She worries if the kids aren’t eating at school, they won’t be eating at all. She encourages everyone to reach out to the USDA during this public comment period. She believes the federal government needs to hear from real people with real concerns and hopes they will provide more flexibility with the plan which goes into effect in just months.

“We believe in healthy eating, nobody wants cardboard chicken or cheese so low in fat that it doesn’t melt, we want the food to be enjoyable,” Pleil said.

Public comment is still open for a few more weeks. If you want to share your thoughts, follow this link: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/FNS-2022-0043-0001

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