As school year starts, more veggies on the menu

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a plate of food while walking down the school lunchline in the cafeteria at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 25, 2012.

Stacey Vanek Smith: It's back-to-school time -- which means it's back-to-school lunch time. This year, kids lunch choices are going to be a little different, as Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports.


Adriene Hill: Public school cafeterias serve nearly 32 million kids every day. Which, if you think about it, is a whole lot of pizzas. And now, under new federal guidelines, a whole lot more fruits and vegetables. Which may require a little getting used to.

Janey Thornton: People say, oh, kids don't eat fruits and vegetables. Well, the reason they don't eat it is they don't know what it is, they've not seen it at home.

Dr. Janey Thornton is deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Under the new guidelines, kids have to take a fruit or a vegetable at lunch. Made-over menus also include more whole grains and healthier milk choices. But the change doesn't come cheap. David Binkle is interim director of food services for Los Angeles schools.

David Binkle: With the new rules, we'll expect to see about a 12 percent increase in the cost.

Nationwide, the veggier/fruitier/healthier lunches are expected to cost an extra $3 billion over the next five years.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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