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McDonald County Schools honored for their school lunch program - KOAM TV 7

McDonald County Schools honored for their school lunch program

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped by Anderson, Missouri on Tuesday to honor McDonald County Schools as a part of the HealthierUS School Challenge.

The USDA visited only four school districts in Missouri to see how lunchrooms across the U.S. are making healthy changes.  Children at Anderson Elementary welcomed the nutrition experts and a video from the first lady to show how they are making better choices this year.

"We're very proud of our students and of our school," says Principal Judy Harper of Anderson Elementary.  "We work very hard to make sure our students do eat right and that we make healthy choices and that we have P.E. activities for our students."

Anderson Elementary received a bronze rating, which comes with national recognition from the USDA and the first lady.  Each of the eight schools in the McDonald County School District will receive $500 to spend on their healthy incentives.

"They have already implemented some fresh fruits and vegetables in their program, they're doing more with whole grains in their program, they have a great physical activity program," says Darlene Barnes, USDA Regional Administrator for Food and Nutrition Service.  "They also have a wellness program if you will that brings together a lot of nutritional ideas and physical ideas."

Along with the fruits and vegetables the programs allows for extra play time.  The school's culinary development director, Rick Tunner, says it is also the calorie caps on cafeteria meals that is helping the district teach kids to make the right choices.

"Some kids only get one good meal a day and that happens to be at school," says Tunner.  "I think we've got to offer those fresh fruits and vegetables and a healthier meal for them."

The school says it will use the money to extend current healthy programs currently in place and hopes to set an example for other schools to follow.

About 4,000 schools are currently certified under the HealthierUS School Challenge across the U.S.

The program hopes to  eventually have every school in the U.S. participating in the voluntary program.

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