WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - With the backing of First Lady Michelle Obama, changes are underway in the school lunch program to make meals healthier. These will be the first major changes in over a decade to make them healthier. Many of the foods will remain but be made with better ingredients.
But what about when your kids head off to college?
Do those cafeterias fall under the same guide lines to help your kids avoid the "freshmen 15"?
My high school food wasn't all that bad, I mean it was pretty good." Says Sophomore Elaina Pankey. I asked her if the was prepared to eat right when she came to school at Williams Baptist. "I wasn't really worried about it. It couldn't be any worse than what I had in high school but it's actually turned out a lot better."
The cafeteria kitchen at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge turns out about 2500 meals a week. It's open from 7 AM to 7 PM five days a week the hours start a little later on the weekends. This is the first semester for the 12 hour days and there is always food available. The school runs 5 different meal programs for students to chose from.
I arrived at the cafeteria as the last of the breakfast crowd was trickling out and the noon meal was close to being put on the steam tables.
Rhonda Campbell is the Director of Food Services. She says the breakfast is really popular. "They eat quite a bit of breakfasts. They can sleep in and come in later and get their omelettes and breakfast foods."
The cafeteria is operated by Fresh Ideas Food Service out of Missouri. Campbell says for the food they serve, it follows what the school requires not the USDA requirements that are affecting grade schools and high schools.
Campbell, "Certain things in there require so many fresh fruits per day, so many canned fruits. So many cereals, so many whole grains, etc."
Campbell says chicken in any form is extremely popular. Today it was baked chicken breasts but student Branden Caffoe says he likes another form of chicken.
Caffoe, "They really have very good boneless chicken wings and they'll do like hot wings or barbecue and I love that meal. I can eat a lot of that."
Pankey, "I really don't have a favorite. I like the taco bar and stuff that they do. But I usually stick to the salads." They had a pretty good salad bar and an entree' option was a individually made Caesar salad.
Campbell says they try real hard to control the salt usage and they have recently implemented the 12-week Eagle Weight Loss Program.
"Instead of deep frying items, we have been baking and using more fresh items instead of processed foods." And they now also steam vegetables. Also Campbell says they will soon have a data base that kids can log on to find the calories in all foods they serve. For now they are just labeling the main courses.
Caffoe, "They've been putting up these little signs that tell you in a specific meal how many calories are in that meal and what's included in that meal and yeah with that I think they are definitely trying to help us out."
The students can still get a piece of pizza and a sandwich if they want but the options and good options are definitely there.