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Grey Cloud Elementary School students (from left) Sophia Smith, Paige Madison, Kylee Carlson and Jada Lewis all said they really like the pea pods included in their school lunches. Schools are adding more vegetables and fruits to lunch plates. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner
Grey Cloud Elementary School students (from left) Sophia Smith, Paige Madison, Kylee Carlson and Jada Lewis all said they really like the pea pods included in their school lunches. Schools are adding more vegetables and fruits to lunch plates. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

Healthy foods part of special lunch at Grey Cloud Elementary School

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education Cottage Grove, 55016

Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Many of the students at Grey Cloud Elementary School had seen fried rice before, but hadn't tasted it.

When it was served Friday as part of school lunch to celebrate the Chinese New Year, students such as Kylie Jones declared it "good."

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The rest of the menu was chicken nuggets, oranges, chopped apples and fortune cookies. The kids tried to use chopsticks. They weren't being used efficiently enough to eat the rice, but they made great nugget stabbers.

The meal was served with carrots and pea pods. Students took more carrots than pea pods but Makenna Studiner took both and said she liked them. Jada Lewis, Kylee Carlson Paige Madison and Sophia Smith, who are friends, liked the pea pods.

"And I'm a picky eater," Carlson said. "I don't like mac and cheese."

The lunch, while not wholly traditional, is a good way for kids to understand cultural differences. It also gets them to try new foods, such as pea pods, nutrition service workers said.

New federal rules require kids to take more fruits and vegetables so that is being encouraged and most kids are responding well, especially to fruit that's already been cut.

In the past, if whole oranges were put on trays, students didn't eat them, according to food workers. When fruit was cut up, consumption doubled last year, said Kathy Grafsgaard, director of nutrition services.

"You've got to start somewhere," lunch supervisor Kathy Hawkinson said, to get kids to eat more healthful foods. It isn't enough to just offer vegetables. They have to taste good.

On upcoming menus, kids will see green beans served with butter, cheese and bread crumbs. There will also be carrots coated with butter, ginger and honey and cheesy corn. "They like corn no matter what," she said.

Hawkinson said more and more kids are trying new foods and eating more fruit and vegetables.

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