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PAISD Child Nutrition program requesting more money
PORT ARTHUR-By Jennifer Gordy
Eating healthier food costs more money. The Port Arthur school district knows first hand. The Port Arthur school board will consider increasing the child nutrition budget by almost $400,000. The district is following a federal initiative to improve the health of school kids
The students in Port Arthur schools are eating healthier. That's because the district implementing First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to combat childhood obesity.
District Nutritionist Tanisha Bodden says the menu's are now more regulated,
"We have more whole grains available. We have fresh produce available more. Now we're doing dark green leafy vegetables. So we make transition from iceberg to romaine. So, it makes salads more appealing and fresh tasting."
It also costs more than canned or frozen food.
Port Arthur Schools Nutrition Director John Constancio
"When you are eating healthier the cost goes up and we are meeting federal and state guidelines. So when you are feeding more kids the cost goes up."
And more kids are taking advantage of the free breakfast and lunch program offered by the Port Arthur school district.
Better food and more kids eating adds up to to more expenses. Assistant Superintendent Phyllis Geans says, "We were thinking we would have a slight decrease in expenses, but it's not trending that way. More kids are eating." And liking it. High school junior Aysia Jefferson says, "It's actually really good. Lots of choices every day."
Choices that can change, if necessary. Bodden says,"When we find something that may not be as popular. We make a change to the menu because our customers are not favoring that item." But, there's one item that won't be changed anytime soon and that's homemade gumbo. Jefferson says,"It's really delicious. It has okra and sausage and it's like your mom made it. It's really good."
Meeting the district's goal to have healthy and happy customers