WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - "Pizza Wednesday" or "Fish Sticks Friday" used to be popular days to eat in the school cafeteria. But recently, federal and state officials are mandating more and more "Smart Snacks" and sugar free beverage.
The food pyramid is a thing of the past. Now, school workers, including those at West Frankfort High School, are expected to be well equipped with the times.
"Machines are on timers- the vending machines," explained Food Service Director Kevin Conaughty.
No snacks or soda during regular school hours; and after July, most of these snacks will say goodbye.
"Can't sell anything that doesn't fall under the smart snack program."
That means, snacks will have to be whole grain, zero trans fats, low sodium and under 200 calories. How will it go over with students?
"Trying to get them to eat it, cause we're all switching to whole wheat, and most of them don't like it. But they're getting used to it. Its getting better. Just getting them used to it," said head cook Tammy Parkhill.
Parkhill said she's watched over the last few years as her menu has changed, and she said despite the various gripes, she's seen a change in her student's overall health.
"Actually I think I do. And we've had a couple adults say, 'I lost 10 lbs this year.' And I do think its because its whole wheat," Parkhill said.
Anyway, Parkhill added, no matter what the kids say, the foods not really that bad.
"I eat it before the kids do because if there's something wrong with it, I wanna know," Parkhill joked. "That way we can fix it. So we always eat first."
Conaughty referenced the Illinois State Board of Education's nutrition and wellness website. He said the site is a great source for information and training with webinars to help understand new mandates and nutritional guidelines.