Mount Vernon Matters

Fairfax County Public Schools Diversify Meals to Make Them Healthier and More Appealing

Schools Diversify Meals to Make Them Healthier and More Appealing

(Photo: Dan Gold/Unsplash)

Alexandria, VA – When Fairfax County Public School students in Mount Vernon and elsewhere in the county returned to class on August 21, they found healthier options in their cafeteria. Every Fairfax school now has a salad bar available with fresh fruit and vegetable choices, according to FCPS.

Amanda Schrink, a nutritionist with FCPS, said the school system started offering salad bars at elementary schools last May and expanded this calendar school year to all schools.

The school system stresses that this is important because “according to the Centers for Disease Control, students who participate in school meal programs consume more whole grains, milk, fruits, and vegetables during meal times and have better overall diet quality.”

While students have the option to bring their lunches, school meals are of particular importance to the 34% of FCPS students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Families in the school system that earn less than 185% of the poverty level can receive meals at no cost.

So what’s for lunch? Sample menus showed that at Belle View Elementary School, for example, the salad bar offered a salad mix, three other vegetable choices, and six different fruit options. There were several meat alternatives, corndog bites, a PB&J Power Pack, Chicken tenders, and Orange Chicken. Not to mention yogurt and six types of milk ranging from unflavored to chocolate or strawberry, all fat free or 1 percent. At press time, lunch menus had not been posted for area middle and high schools.

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Marlene Miller

Marlene Miller has lived in, and written about, Mount Vernon for decades. She raised her family here, her two children graduating from area public schools. After retiring from over 16 years of publishing her own newspaper, The Zebra has tempted her back to community journalism

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