Schools Celebrate National Nutrition Month
The grant requires the school district to buy fresh produce from U.S. farmers. Then, schools will have a mega salad bar to offer kids healthier choices.
"By offering it day in and day out, we hope that they will try it," said Columbia Schools Nutritionist Pat Brooks. "And there are many that try without any prodding, but there are others that just look and pass it by. So, our hope is that, as the month goes on, we'll have more and more students participating."
Missouri public schools must provide at least one-third of a student's daily nutritional value, including fruits, vegetables and calcium.
Columbia Public Schools already offer optional items that have less than 200 calories and provide at least 8% of a student's daily nutrition.
In addition to those lower-calorie choices, MU graduate assistant Erin Richards is helping teach MU students about childhood obesity.
"We're helping a lot of people understand that it is a growing problem," she said.
But, Richards said Columbia's efforts are working to combat.
"I think it's really refreshing to see that Columbia has gotten this grant," she added, "and that they are able to provide students with healthy foods and hopefully kind of brand them in the opposite direction."
Brooks wants healthy school meals to continue throughout the academic year, not just during National Nutrition Month.