The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared the proportion of schools selling candy and soda from the years 2006 to 2008. Among the 34 states the study looked at, the proportion of Mississippi schools selling soda, candy, and salty snacks had one of the largest reductions. The proportion of Mississippi schools selling soft drinks dropped from 75 percent to 25 percent. Donna Freyaldenhoven, Meridian Public Schools' Food Services Director, said MPS is no exception.
"We don't have coke machines on the campuses any longer. If we do they only sell water and Gatorade and diet drinks," said Freyaldenhoven.
Those with a sweet tooth, can kiss chocolate cake goodbye. Freyaldenhoven said most desserts consists of cobbler or low fat treats.
"We've done a major reduction in deserts," said Freyaldenhoven. But it goes beyond that. Meridian Public Schools' Food Services Program is taking health farther than just candy and soda. Freyaldenhoven said changes to the bread are in place as well.
"We've gone to whole grain products. We're going to a whole grain biscuit that you cannot tell the difference," explained Freyaldenhoven.
The Food Services Program said it knows how important food is for the students' learning. They said they want to give the kids options, including healthy ones.
"Every day we offer a chef salad or a chicken Caesar salad or a fruit and yogurt plate. We do tuna salads and chicken salads. Then we offer a warm sandwich with baked chips or a cold sandwich with baked chips," said Freyaldenhoven.
The Food Services Program of Meridian Public Schools also offers a heavier cooked meal each day. Freyaldenhoven said it's just important that the students have a variety of choices to fuel their energy.