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Schools Say, Despite New Guidelines, They Meet Nutritional Needs - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schools Say, Despite New Guidelines, They Meet Nutritional Needs

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Normally we go through the latest health inspection reports for restaurants, but this week we decided to go back to school with many of the kids in North Dakota.

We checked the health inspection reports on the school cafeterias and found no violations. The health inspector says lunch rooms at schools are almost always clean and safe for the students, so we decided to look at a different angle.

We talked to the Fargo Public School District to find out if your children are getting the proper nutrition during lunch.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has new guidelines for school lunch programs that some say were limiting students.

Deb Laber, Director of Nutrition Services for Fargo Public Schools, says, "The USDA put out guidelines that were just so hard to follow because they had calorie limits, and they had grain limits and they had protein limits."

Laber says there was no limit on fruits or vegetables, but they can only get you so far. Students just were not getting full.

"We had complaints, you know, complaints from students, which evolved complaints from parents," says Laber.

Senator John Hoeven was able to help by getting the restrictions on proteins and grains lifted for a year. He wants those changes permanent, but it is still a work in progress.

Laber explains, "Sometimes we couldn't meet the minimum calories, so then we were adding things like jello or pudding or sherbet, and those are more empty calories."

She adds the USDA program focused on obesity, rather than what, for instance, athletes might need. She is confident Senator Hoeven and the rest of the lawmakers on Capitol Hill will make the necessary changes to help students.

In the meantime, she ensures that the school district is meeting the nutritional needs of the students as best as possible.

Fargo Public Schools does reach out for student input when making menus. They want to make sure students will eat the different foods before they add them. Of course, foods must also fit in the budget and food guidelines.
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