Some believe students in St. Albans, WV are adapting to lunches - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Some believe students are developing a taste for healthier lunches in St. Albans, WV

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Green beans and pizza on the menu at St. Albans High School. Green beans and pizza on the menu at St. Albans High School.
ST. ALBANS, WV -

Cathy Bays is the Cafeteria Manager at St. Albans High School in St. Albans, WV. She is attached to the kids she feeds. So when they started to say they didn't like the food it was hard for her to handle.

A move to provide healthier lunches in school created a stir among parents and students, especially last school year.  But now some say students are adapting and new menu choices are helping schools and kids find middle ground.

"Last year, I felt terrible because I know a lot of kids left without eating," Bays said. "It really upset me because we want to make sure they are all fed.  Sometimes this is the only meal our kids get and we want to make sure they are all fed and full." 

In the past several years, new guidelines have been gradually introduced encouraging more from scratch cooking, fewer calories, less fat and salt and more fruits and vegetables. Monday, the menu consisted of green beans flavored with onion, pepper and a small amount of salt and pizza on a wheat crust.

This semester nutrition officials in Kanawha County and even at the state level say complaints have dropped off, even though they are still sticking to the federal guidelines. 

"We have more pizza and chicken dishes other than all of this odd stuff they had on there last year," Bays said about the revised menu options. "We have wheat bread, wheat buns and even our pizza has a wheat crust and that is the only thing they have concerns about, but they still eat it."

During the meal Monday, several students did throw away trays with green beans and other vegetables that had not been consumed.

"My niece takes her lunch everyday because he says its horrible," said Amy Trent, Kanawha County. "Her friends and her refuse to eat at school."

But other parents said their students don't mind the healthier meals.

"My daughter eats at school everyday and hasn't ever really complained. I'm assuming that's because I never put the thought in her head about complaining about the school food," said parent Marie McDavid.

Diane Miller is the Food and Nutrition Director for Kanawha County Schools. She said starting in October she and others in her office will be attending meetings at area schools during which students will be asked to provide input on what they would prefer to see on their lunch trays. 

School principals are coordinating those meetings.