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Healthy Food Not A Change In Mt. Pleasant Schools

THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Federal guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture now require school districts to offer healthy meal alternatives for the upcoming school year. In the Mount Pleasant Central School District, healthy options in the cafeteria are not a change.

“We follow the federal guidelines on healthy options with our school meal services, and it’s been that way for quite some time,” said Superintendent Susan Guiney. “And even our vending machines on our campuses have healthy options as well.”

The new meal requirements are part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. The nutrition standard requires that fruits and vegetables be offered with lunch as separate meal components. It also bans any milk over 1 percent fat content, requires that all flavored milk is fat-free and requires the sodium content in meals to be significantly lower, among many other requirements. The regulation took effect in March, and districts were required to comply by July 1.

Although the regulation does not bring a major change to the Mount Pleasant district in terms of what foods it offers, Guiney said she hopes students and parents begin taking advantage of a different way to pay for that food. In the middle of the last school year, the district introduced a software system called KidsServe that works similar to debit cards. The system was met with mixed reactions from parents .

“I would hope that now that it’s been in place for a while, more parents will utilize it,” Guiney said. “I think it’s a benefit from a parent’s perspective, because they can just go online and enter money there and don’t have to worry about giving their child cash every morning.”

Guiney said that paying with cash in the cafeteria will remain an option, and she expects parents to use both.

“It’s really just a personal preference,” Guiney said. “So if the parents want to pay with cash, they will certainly have that option.”

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