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Changes for Student Lunch ProgramsSubmitted: 09/07/2012

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RHINELANDER - New changes from the USDA mean your child sees healthier options in the hot lunch line at school.

In Rhinelander these changes come with a brand new company and fresh choices.

Clothes, supplies and friends aren't the only new things at school this week.
The lunch line now boasts a rainbow assortment of healthy choices.

Parent Nathan Mathwig likes the change, "The first day of school I got to check the menu out and I was pretty impressed. The kids have two different main courses to choose from, a full fruit and salad bar."

The School District of Rhinelander also welcomes Taher Foods to its schools.
One reason, the company focuses on healthy kids at every age.

Taher's Regional VP of Operations Jim Madden says, "If we start with the elementary kids, by the time they get to middle school, which is the hardest kids to get to eat fruits and vegetables, they will eat more."

Just remember those portions on the plate. You have your fruits, vegetables, a low fat milk and an entrée.

Here at Pelican kids have a new salad bar style buffet they can fill up on with their fruits and vegetables and get a colorful tray with plenty of healthy choices before heading on over to the kitchen for their entrée.

The goal of teaching these kids the new portions is that hopefully they'll be able to carry them on from grade school further on into life to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Parent Jenny Iwanski says, "They're influenced very easily by their friends. So seeing their friends trying new things is only going to be good for them and hopefully that will continue as they get older."

After their first few meals of the year, the verdict is positive.
Jenny's son Max says, "Yummy."

Nathan's daughter Madlyn agrees, "I think I want this to stick around at this school because it's really yummy."

Because the learning doesn't stop during lunch.

Rhinelander's new Foodservice Director Pat Karaba explains, "We're also here to make them healthy and give them lifestyle skills."

Something Iwanski likes, "What better place to give it to them than here? They can see other kids eating it and then take that home with them. Say, 'Hey mom, I had this and we can get this.' Get some apples or whatnot."

Changing the way the next generation looks at lunch is something many parents are standing behind.

Mathwig is optimistic, "Hopefully it continues, the kids become healthier and realize that fruits and vegetables are fun and good to eat, it's not just junk food."

Freshening up not only the menu, but also the idea of school lunches.

Rhinelander is also featuring a new fruit, vegetable, and whole grain each month to throw a little variety into the menu.

Story By: Michael Crusan

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