The cost of healthy meals in Franklin County schools is rising. That has some worried because nutrition budgets won't allow for much more.
In efforts to help fund the increase in costs, the Franklin County School Board of Education has come up with a plan. They are asking for $25 per student in funds to make up for the predicted shortfall. The Board sees that if the state's entire 1150 plus elementary schools participate, the anticipated funds would exceed $12.5 million.
The healthy meal plans call for more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and high-fiber foods.
Some examples are french fries having to be baked instead of fried and serving yogurt for breakfast instead of other fat-ridden items. Vending machines have also always been a problem for students. The machines have recently undergone some changes. Snack cakes are now gone and the usual potato chips have been replaced with baked chips. Even the drink machines have replaced a lot of caffeinated beverages with either water or fruit juices.
Franklin County Schools Director for Child Nutrition Jama Stallings told a local newspaper that "students in the schools are adopting better eating habits as the system has moved away from high-fat, high-calorie meals and snacks."
Another concern in pricing and lack of funds is waste. In order to get federal funding, students must get particular items with meals, whether they want it or not. That leads to food being wasted. Young students, for example, are bad about getting an apple with their meal, taking a bite or two from it, then pushing it aside. Some Board members are asking for a change so that food and money for that food isn't wasted.
North Carolina ranks in the top 10 states in the United States for having high numbers of students with hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, Franklin County has one of the top rankings in the state for the number of students who are overweight. In fact, all of the state's 100 counties have overweight numbers above 50 percent. Franklin County's rate is 73.8 percent to be exact. The state average rate is 63 percent. You can thus see why Board members are stepping up to the plate to find funds for healthy foods.
The Franklin County Health Department has announced a concern and desire to help in nutritional efforts in area schools. They are implementing more educational programs, such as classroom presentations, and more involvement in school nutrition in general.