This school year, Gladbrook-Reinbeck is getting healthy. The Iowa Department of Education has set up new nutritional standards for the 2012-2013 school year. The lunch rooms are serving students more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, but are also serving less trans fats and sodium. This year students are being offered either a fruit or a vegetable, and will be required to take one or the other on a daily basis. These changes are expected to help not only the students' physical well being, but also their academics. Studies have shown that students who eat healthier during the day, seem to do better academically. That is one of the issues these standards are trying to help. "I would say that I do have a high energy level and I feel better about what I'm putting in my body," says Shelby Yates, a junior at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School. "The old food used to make me feel sluggish, and now I'm full and ready to roll through the rest of my day!" The Iowa Department of Education website says that the meal program is supposed to help, "boost nutrition and reduce childhood obesity." The program is built off of the Healthy Kids Act from 2010. This act requires school districts to make sure that K-5 students get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity, and 6-12 students get 120 minutes per week. The Healthy Kids Act is to help children develop healthy eating habits, and promote healthy, active lifestyles. There are 2/3 of American adults that are obese or overweight, and Iowa is out to help children turn the obesity epidemic around. Matthew Leeman, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School principle, agrees with the program and states that, "My overall feeling is that I really like the fact that our salad bar is full of fruits and veggies on a daily basis. I also like that students must take either the fruit or vegetable choice or both in line before they go to the salad bar. I'm guessing many of the items are ones that some students would never take otherwise."
For more information on the new 2012 nutritional standards, you can visit educateiowa.gov.
This year the lunch bar is filled with many fruits and vegetables.
Photo by Breanna Schlichtmann