Junk Food Crackdown, What It Will Take To Make Students In West Michigan Eat Healthy

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jun 27, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – There is a junk food crack down happening in schools across the country and West Michigan is no different.

Starting July 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will require schools to limit fat, salts, and sugars sold during school lunch and in vending machines at schools.

When it comes to food, the school age kids FOX 17 spoke with say they know what they want.  Hannah Smith is going into sixth grade and said she prefers taquitos more than the hamburgers they serve at her school.

Admittedly Hannah and her brother and sister, both in 8th grade, will choose what they prefer over what is the best for their health.

For the past two years, federal guidelines have been in place trying to make kids eat better during the school day.

Stacey Wykoski is a food service director for the Jenison and Hudsonville school district, “A hungry child cannot learn and our role is to provide them with the nutrition they need to have a successful day in classroom.”

The Healthy Hunger Free Act mandates that all schools offer a variety of healthy options said Wykoski.

“There is consistency now with all the schools across the nation as far as what food they are offering,” she said.

The trick at that point is getting kids to eat the healthy option.

“A lot of pizzas now have whole grain crust and low fat cheese so we are able to give kids the items that they visualize as being fun but still meet the nutritional requirements we have,” she said.

What kids can’t get in the cafeteria, they can often get in a vending machine.  Last year, eight fresh healthy vending machines were in place in the West Michigan area including Rockford Christian School and Grattan Academy in Greenville.

The vending machines offer things like granola bars and water instead of candy and pop.