Using Healthy Foods Means Struggles For School Nutrition Programs

School officials want children to eat more fruit and fewer french fries, but the fruit costs more and that's causing problems for child-nutrition programs statewide.

School lunches already have to meet federal nutrition standards, but the more popular a la carte items don't. That's changing as school districts replace fruit drinks with 100 percent juice drinks. Officials tell the Winston-Salem Journal that as a result, profit is shrinking.

Officials say child-nutrition programs also have to pay for state-mandated salary increases, and the cost of fuel has increased as well. As school officials replace a la carte items, such as french fries, with healthier options, sales decline.

In 2005, a pilot program for the nutrition standards was started in 124 elementary schools in seven school systems. None of the schools could meet the nutrition standards and lost more than $330,000 in just five months.

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