New Rules For Middle School Lunches - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/3/04-Tyler

New Rules For Middle School Lunches

This year, kids at the six TISD middle schools will be learning something new - how to eat their food without a thick coating of oil.

"We actually said, we're going to stop frying all together at our middle schools," said TISD Food Services Coordinator, Victor Olivares.

With Texas leading the nation in obesity, the Texas Department of Agriculture has made some new rules for lunch time: out with frying and in with baking. That means all eight deep fryers from TISD middle schools flunk out.

We did the math and found out baking instead of frying will eliminate eleven pounds of fat from the diet of each child at the middle schools every year.

The campuses are now hoping to get six new conveyer type ovens that will give the same effect as frying with no extra oil.

"Food from a frozen state, is like a quick fried item already. It's already got a little oil on it. These ovens are designed to bake the oil into it and give it a fried taste," says Olivares.

Good news for kids, but the ovens don't come cheap - eleven thousand dollars a piece. In terms of snack items, like chips and drinks for kids, no extra cost there.

The schools will be buying the same amount of food just different products, like baked chips and bottled water, instead of candy and soft drinks.

Another change? No more coke machines at lunch. In their place, a milk dispenser. A far cry from the days of chili cheese fries and chocolate bars.

"It's definitely a good thing for our districts and our students," says Olivares.

And definitely food for thought. Now, money for the new ovens would come from the food services office for TISD, which operates on a separate budget than the school itself.

The Texas Department of Agriculture says they're hitting the middle schools because they want them to understand balanced nutrition before high school.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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