Stricter Nutrition Guidelines for Schools

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You won't find greasy foods or sodas in Leon County schools. The new wellness policy requires tatter tots and French fries to be baked, sugary snacks replaced with salads, and pizza crusts and rolls must be made with whole wheat bread.

"We replaced the white bread with whole grain and whole wheat, children argued a little bit but they got used to it and now they don't even notice it," said Valerie Griffith, a cook at Hawk's Rise Elementary.

While many school districts are catching up to the new guidelines, Leon County school cafeterias have been on the cutting edge for years.

"Leon County schools under our former superintendent got ahead of this and actually implemented it in May of 2004," said Tim Tankersley, Director of Nutrition Services.

Teachers said they are already seeing a change in students’ eating habits and choices.

"They are saying eat more healthy so they are coming in and selecting things that are a bit more healthier for them," said Rosa Lovett, a teacher's aid at Hawk's Rise.

Florida's Department of Education said healthy foods support physical growth and effect children's progress in the classroom.

"They don't exercise as much as they used to so we can help them calorie wise and nutrition wise so they still have a full belly and a lot of energy throughout the day," said Griffith.

The wellness policy addresses more than food; it's bringing changes to schools’ physical and health education. Leon County schools hope this policy will continue to have a positive effect in and out of the cafeteria.