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NY Mills taking nutrition seriously

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news Perham, 56573

Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

Instead of a short lived New Year's resolution to eat well, New York Mills Elementary School tries to ingrain healthy lifestyles every day.

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For the past two years, as part of the Healthy Schools Initiative, NY Mills School has actively tried to fight obesity by following guidelines established in its wellness policy.

According to this policy: "The school aims to promote and protect students' health, well-being, and ability to learn by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity."

Some things are simply not allowed in school, like pop and candy, except for a special occasion. If a child brings pop or candy, they will be asked to put it away.

According to the report, food with high sugar content or with high fat content can only be consumed on school property on a limited basis and in limited portion size.

The school provides a list of healthy snack ideas, which includes fruit, vegetables, cereal, crackers, popcorn, granola and healthy cookies like fig and oatmeal.

According to the wellness policy, the concession stands are making some adjustments in their prices to encourage students to make healthier food choices at home games.

For example, things like candy and pop are priced higher than healthier options like water and trail mix.

In accordance with federal regulations on healthy foods, schools are switching meals to match the food pyramid. More whole grains, vegetables and fruits are served at lunch and breakfast, to make well rounded meals.

The wellness policy directs teachers to fit healthy choice curriculum into the school day. Information about nutrition, including recommended serving size and an understanding of food labels and calories, can help students make wise choices.

Third grade teacher Julie Rud said she's encouraging students to eat healthy all the time.

"There are so many tasty, healthy foods available for our students in the grocery store that sweets aren't really necessary," she said.

In Rud's classroom, sweets would have to go back in the backpack until the end of the day.

Going without a snack isn't something completely rare though, as Rud said several students choose not to bring snacks at all.

Lunchroom

According to the current federal guidelines, schools need to serve only whole grain food products by 2012-13 school year.

NY Mills school lunch program has been gradually changing its ways, using up the last of the white noodles, and as they restock, purchasing whole grains.

The change is not without negative feedback from students, however.

Food service supervisor Anjanette Wiirre said the high school students seem to be having a hard time with the switch. And, therefore, the kitchen mixes the whole grain noodles with the white noodles in its meals.

Wiirre said students will get used to whole grain foods eventually.

The amount of food consumed is a little stricter, too, as students are allowed seconds on fruits and vegetables with their lunches, but have to purchase a second entrée for other food items.

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