Area school thinks "out of the box" when it comes to lunch

Published 08/29 2013 05:04PM

Updated 08/29 2013 05:33PM

NEW BERLIN -- The National School Lunch Program is supposed to get students eating better, but some schools are dropping out because the kids refuse to eat the food. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels shows us what one school is doing to make healthy meals without sacrificing taste.

When you think of school cafeteria food, you probably remember things like pizza or chicken nuggets.

"Everything was from the freezer to the oven to the kids' trays."

But, because of new food standards, a lot of schools are ditching the old standbys for different, healthier options. The only problem is the kids don't like it. So, instead of opting out of the Healthy School Lunch Program, New Berlin Schools are thinking out of the box.

"We got rid of all the box cooking. We actually cut fresh fruits and vegetables every day. We make our own spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce."

Since the switch, the number of kids they serve has more than doubled. Here's their secret, parents, you might want to cover your ears for this one.

"We tell the kids it's just a hot dog. We don't tell them it's a turkey dog, just like our chicken strips. We actually put cauliflower in them in the breading."

The kids say they can't even tell the difference, but the parents can.

"I think they have more energy. They want to go outside more. The grease bogs them down."

The staff says the way they run the kitchen is more work, but it's worth it.

"It could be the best meal they get all day."

And it could help them make healthier choices down the road.

"If we can make an influence here, maybe, in the long-run, we can change the outcome."

Only a handful of schools in Illinois have stopped serving the healthy lunches, but a lot more say they're thinking about doing it in the future. They say the uneaten food is a waste of money.

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