What are your kids eating? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What are your kids eating?

Food service cuts in cash-strapped schools across the country are impacting what students eat in lunchrooms nationwide.

School systems throughout southwest Louisiana have cut cafeteria staff, portion sizes, and various lunchroom supplies to make up for the loss in revenue.

Calcasieu Parish Schools cut more than 100 cafeteria positions for the 2010-2011 school year. The board also considered serving "Preferred Meals" and changing up portion sizes to save funds.
 
Jeff Davis Parish Schools has noticed a 90% increase in food costs within the last year.
 
"We're taking a look at doing different things to make up for that rise in food costs," said Tina Coleman, food services coordinator for Jeff Davis Parish Schools. 
 
One thing JDPS is doing is selling extra sale products to the students. These items include 100% fruit juices and slushes. The students purchase these items in addition to their meal.
 
The school system is also considering purchasing sporks, instead of separate spoons and forks to save money.
 
Through cutting back on supplies, JDPS is hoping to put more funds toward healthier foods.
 
"Of course we all know that the products that are healthier for you are more expensive," said Coleman. "Our guidelines show we need to improve nutrition in school lunches."
 
JDPS is using more whole grain products in jambalaya, rice dressings, and pastas. The food services department is currently looking to order even more whole grain products to improve nutrition in the lunchroom.
 
Dr. Nanette Null, a physician at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, said that there are more things schools can do to improve nutrition.
 
"You can't just look at whether you have whole grains or not, you have to look at the entire lunch as a whole," said Dr. Null.
 
7News took the lunch menus from different parishes in southwest Louisiana, and asked Dr. Null to examine the meals students are eating day to day.
 
Dr. Null said some meals are pretty well balanced across the board.
 
"I liked the holiday meal in particular," said Dr. Null. "I liked it because they have a vegetable and definitely the sweet potatoes are going to be much healthier than the white potatoes. The ham or the sliced turkey is going to be a leaner meat."
 
Dr. Null said the hamburger and tater tots is the least nutritious meal on the menu. This item appeared at least once on the menu in all parishes across southwest Louisiana. Calcasieu Parish even had the meal twice in the same week.
 
"Both of those items are going to be a simple starch and are not going to have a lot of nutritional value to them," said Dr. Null.
 
Although canned fruit may sound like a healthy balance to the hamburger and tater tots, Dr. Null urges folks to think again.
 
"The canned fruit is in heavy syrup, versus if you have canned fruit that is in either water or pear juice that would be much healthier," said Dr. Null. 
 
Dr. Null added that although healthy eating habits are influenced at school, they actually begin in the home. The less "grab and go" meals at home, the healthier the child will be.
  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • CPSB committee members approve Pre-K tuition for ineligible students

    CPSB committee members approve Pre-K tuition for ineligible students

    Wednesday, January 24 2018 6:07 AM EST2018-01-24 11:07:36 GMT
    (Source: WikiCommons/Flickr/Abrhujit Tembhekar)(Source: WikiCommons/Flickr/Abrhujit Tembhekar)

    A pre-k tuition proposal for Calcasieu Parish public schools was approved at Tuesday night's hours-long curriculum committee meeting.

    More >>

    A pre-k tuition proposal for Calcasieu Parish public schools was approved at Tuesday night's hours-long curriculum committee meeting.

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Mancuso: Search in Starks related to decade-old missing persons case

    Mancuso: Search in Starks related to decade-old missing persons case

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 7:59 PM EST2018-01-24 00:59:49 GMT
    Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says deputies are acting on a tip and searching a field in Starks for a body of a person missing for more than a decade. (Source: KPLC)Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says deputies are acting on a tip and searching a field in Starks for a body of a person missing for more than a decade. (Source: KPLC)

    Authorities with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office are investigating after receiving a tip that a body of a person missing for more than a decade may be buried in a field behind the EZ Mart on La. 12 in Starks. However, Sheriff Tony Mancuso stressed that the investigation has revealed nothing thus far. "There is nothing concrete that tells us there is something or there isn't something," he said. Mancuso also put to bed social media rumors that multiple bodies have be...

    More >>

    Authorities with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office are investigating after receiving a tip that a body of a person missing for more than a decade may be buried in a field behind the EZ Mart on La. 12 in Starks. However, Sheriff Tony Mancuso stressed that the investigation has revealed nothing thus far. "There is nothing concrete that tells us there is something or there isn't something," he said. Mancuso also put to bed social media rumors that multiple bodies have be...

    More >>
  • Mother claims 7 year-old son was kicked off school bus far from home

    Mother claims 7 year-old son was kicked off school bus far from home

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 7:50 PM EST2018-01-24 00:50:49 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    A Lake Charles mother claims her 7 year-old son was kicked off his school bus more than a mile away from home. Now, she's left looking for answers. Toni Thomas says her son, Joseph, didn't get off the bus one day.  "People were calling and knocking on the door, kids were running," said Thomas. "They came in and they were said Joe got put off the bus and I thought they were talking about at the school because he gotten in trouble or something, but they s...

    More >>

    A Lake Charles mother claims her 7 year-old son was kicked off his school bus more than a mile away from home. Now, she's left looking for answers. Toni Thomas says her son, Joseph, didn't get off the bus one day.  "People were calling and knocking on the door, kids were running," said Thomas. "They came in and they were said Joe got put off the bus and I thought they were talking about at the school because he gotten in trouble or something, but they s...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly