advertisement

Rising costs cause for schools to rethink meals

Monday, August 11, 2008 | 5:15 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS - Soaring food and fuel costs could affect school cafeterias this school year.

A nutrition expert at Washington University in St. Louis says districts will have to get creative to continue providing nutritional food as they battle rising costs.

"I think we will see a definite shift toward local foods and other ways to stretch the food dollar while still maintaining healthy meals for children," said Connie Diekman, who in addition to serving as university nutrition director is the past president of the American Dietetic Association.

Food prices are up because of poor crop yields, increasing use of corn for fuel and the rising costs of transporting food across the country.

One way to save money is to cut down on portion sizes.

"Obviously, if we can bring portion sizes down to a more appropriate level, it will help tremendously with expenses," Diekman said. "This is a great opportunity for schools to examine healthy portion sizes, which not only improve the health of students, but cut down on costs as well."

Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program must meet nutritional standards, but Diekman said they can use creativity to help reduce costs.

"Districts will probably need to do more seasonal thinking when it comes to food choices," she said. "While fresh berries might be too expensive in the winter at some schools, oranges or grapefruit might not."

Schools can also use more frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Diekman said they are just as nutritionally sound as fresh produce.

Using local foods cuts down on shipping costs and helps with environmental sustainability, Diekman said.

She knows it won't be easy.

"I suspect that for most districts it is going to be a challenge, even with their creativity, because food costs have just taken off," Diekman said.

 


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements