Nutritional Changes at School for Your Child

September 13, 2006 -- Posted at 5:31 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR -- With the school year well underway, there's bound to be many changes for your child.  One of those changes is the food they put in their mouth.

New legislation requires that school children eat a limited amount of sugar, flour, and other empty calories.

"We've sent letters home, but like a lot of things that go home in backpacks, it isn't fully implemented.  We're taking it a day at a time," said Joe Ed Smith, Principal at Greene County Tech Primary School.

In fact, according to the state government there are only nine times that a special treat like a cake, cookies, or cupcakes are allowed.

"It has been really difficult because we celebrate birthdays more than nine times in the year," said Smith.

Since the beginning of the school year, there have already been some parents who have brought in the forbidden foods for their child's birthday.

"We go ahead and we use the cupcakes, but we tell them that they'll have to replace that with a healthy snack from now on," said Smith.

Parents can bring a healthy snack such as fruit, granola bars, or nuts.

Many children bring their lunch to school.  Parents can pack anything they want to inside their child's lunch box.  However, for cafeteria workers, their menus have changed quite a bit with these new guidelines.

"There's a lot of food items that we can't offer in the cafeteria that we have in the past," said Smith.

And the students have already noticed the changes in the menu.

"They've mentioned that they're not getting the cakes and pies like they used to.  They' don't eat the fruits as well, but no kid is going to eat something that's good for them," said Cafeteria Manager Bert Condray.

These changes are still a work in progress.

"We're not going to be able to fully implement the law immediately.  It's going to be a learning process on the part of the child, the school, and the family," said Smith.

For more information on this legislation you can log onto the Arkansas Secretary of State's website, that is