Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, visits Lincoln Elementary Magnet School Monday to experience the implementation of “The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids” Act of 2010 and its nutritional improvements. Public schools have been required to implement the act by the 2012-2013 school year.
ALBANY — Hamburgers were not on the menu at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School Monday. Neither were hotdogs nor sweet or fatty foods. Students could enjoy a salad, though, or fruit or a choice between a chicken sandwich or spaghetti.
Joining the Lincoln students in the lunch line at the magnet school was U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, who could be seen sliding his tray along the rail.
Bishop dropped in for a general tour of Lincoln and its classrooms Monday. He was also there to acknowledge how SB 3307, the “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act” of 2010, works in practice at a real-life public school. By federal law, schools are required to implement the law’s nutritional upgrades by school year 2012-2013.
“A lot of people across the country and particularly in our area are suffering from obesity and other health conditions that could be remedied with just a slight difference in their diets,” Bishop said. “Healthy children learn better, and healthy children grow up to be healthier adults.”
Bishop said by helping the student population eat healthier, their parents will spend less money on health care and less on diseases that could be prevented by better lifestyle and better diets.
In a statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, Secretary Tom Vilsack called the bill “an historic victory for our nation’s youngsters.” Vilsack also said the bill allows the USDA to make real nutritional reforms for the first time in 30 years. According to the ag department, not only will HHFKA improve nutritional standards, but it will also make school lunches more easily available.
Brent Fowler, vice principal at Lincoln, said the lunch staff concentrates more on providing fruits, vegetables, greens and lean meats. The portions are carefully planned to provide each child with a total of 600 calories or less.
“We’re trying to get away from the biscuits and the french fries we used to get,” Fowler said.