Healthier Lunches for Students in Walton County

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Walton District School Food District Officials began adhering to the USDA nutritional standards in August 2012.

“The overall intention is to educate children, to make better choices,” said Forrest Jamison, Food Service Director for the county.

Jamison says that has included slowly integrating different items each year, easing students into the changes.

“By exposing the children to different food options they are going to try things regularly and find out they have tastes for foods they may not of had through the exposure they get here at school,” stated Jamison.

Principal of Emerald Coast Middle School, Charlie Marello says he's noticed a big change in his students in just the first year of offering the healthier menus.

“Typically a kind of spike in incidents in kids who need extra motivation come 5 and 6th period at the end of the day, and we haven't really noticed that. Even our teachers have said how attentive the kids are,” said Marello.

For Martin Tapia, a 7th grader at Emerald Coast, he believes healthier choices at school will lead him to make those same choices at home.

“I think I am eating a little healthier at school than at home, but I will try to do the same,” said Tapia.

Next year, Walton County Schools will begin offering students low-sodium items and whole grain products.