HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Fewer students are eating from Horry County school cafeterias.
That's exactly what the Horry County School District is working to do. Farmer says that although the calories regulations are more restrictive than they have ever been, the challenge also comes with kids not eating healthier options at home. So the district is working to find more creative ways of including the healthier food groups by revising their recipes.
The new USDA regulations kicked in back in 2012. Since then, the government standards for school lunches require cafeteria staff to serve more variety and larger portions of fruits and vegetables. It also puts limits on the calories that can be served based on students' ages. Schools are required to meet these standards to get federal reimbursements for their meal programs.
Farmer says it has been a tough two years trying to implement the new regulations. If fewer students are eating meals, the total government reimbursement will be less. So, Farmer says, the district will have to adjust staffing, food and supplies according to the meals sold.
One way to help your kids become more accustomed to the food at school, is to start with healthy eating habits at home.
"I really think parents, including myself, should not buy so much junk at home," says Sigal Rowell, a Myrtle Beach resident and mother. "And kids should get used to eating healthier. And that's going to be helpful to the school when they come and they're already used to whatever they eat at home to eat at school. Then they won't refuse eating the healthy food at school," says Rowell.
As time goes by, Farmer says the are hoping the new guidelines will be accepted and more students will try new foods and learn to like them. They're also anticipating students in earlier grades won't have this problem of disliking the food and refusing to eat later on, because they were introduced to these healthier options from the start.