Creative school lunches aim to taste good and be healthy at the same time

School lunch in Jefferson County

School lunch in Jefferson County

DENVER — In order for kids to do well in school, they need nutritious meals, but it’s not always easy to get them on board.

Students in Jefferson County and many other areas are in for some creative school lunches thanks to a program designed to meet the government’s nutrition standards.

The school system provides more than 38,000 meals a day that must meet government nutrition standards as part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.

The healthy lunches go way beyond salads and fresh fruit.

Lasley Elementary school principal Lisa Nolan says the kids are excited to hit the lunch line because they’re getting food that not only tastes good, but also provides fuel to keep them on top of their game in class. “They have more brain power so students are really able to have the stamina it takes to really concentrate in school.”

The school district designed a menu with input from the students. They came up with delicious choices like whole wheat buns, baked “fries,” creative fruit plates, unconventional salads and even nachos, made with baked tortilla shells, turkey meat and low-fat cheese.

Linda Stoll oversees food services for the Jeffco schools.

She says the district chef tries out the creations with a student taste test. “We actually bring them out to schools and let kids test them and see what they think of them.”

Health experts say parents are a key part of their child’s nutritional success.

After eating healthy food at school, kids need to come home to meals low in fat, salt and sugar. That way they’re not confused and can easily develop healthy habits that will benefit them for life.

Get healthy but fun breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes here.