National School Lunch Week is next week. Thursday morning Cypress Grove Intermediate School started next week's festivities with a visit from Todd Staples, Texas' Agriculture Commissioner, who stressed the importance of students improving their nutrition
"Texas is the twelfth highest in the nation in adult obesity, and sixth highest in the nation for childhood obesity," Staples said. "This is a trend we must change if we want a brighter future for our kids."
Changes have already begun in Cypress Grove's lunch room.
While some of the food may look familiar, what it is made of is what is different.
"Many people see a pizza on our menu and they think that's not a very healthy choice, but we use whole grain crust, the pizza has low fat cheese on it, and it's actually a nutritious choice," Diane Dahm with Child Nutrition Services. "Our hamburgers are lower in fat, and our hot dogs are turkey dogs."
Todd Staples sat down and talked with kids about the importance of eating right, and making healthy selections at school and at home.
"We're trying to teach kids it's ok to put down a cookie and pick-up a carrot," Staples said. "We're trying to teach them how important it is to have a balanced diet with apples, fresh fruits, and vegetables."
So far his message seems to be working.
"I think it's very good," Cypress Grove fifth grader Amber Macha said. "So people can get their regular energy, and just have a good day."
"If you keep eating healthy foods you grow taller and taller," classmate Brittany Jurode said. "You get more energy."
School lunches nowadays are much different than most adults remember from their childhood.
Cafeterias have increased the whole grains in breads and buns, and also are adding healthier options to the menu, such as fresh produce and salads.
"We do a nutritional analysis on every single meal we serve to the students to make sure it's meeting the students needs based on calories and protein, and certain vitamins and minerals," Dahm said.
Staples says the classroom is where the fundamentals of healthy living can begin.
"Just like math and science and how you can learn these basics in school, you can learn proper health and nutrition choices in our schools," Staples said.
National School Lunch Week was established in 1963 by John F. Kennedy to help raise awareness on the role school nutrition programs play on students.