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Healthier Lunches Unpopular With CPS Students

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School lunch (CBS)

School lunch (CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – Healthier meals are on the menu in the Chicago Public Schools, but the problem, students say, is that they don’t taste very good.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Pat Cassidy reports, this school year, Chicago schools stopped serving daily doses of doughnuts, Pop-Tarts and nachos, and started offering healthier foods for lunch and breakfast.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Pat Cassidy reports

The new rules enacted this school year forbid food with dessert or “candy-type” ingredients or flavors such as chocolate, with the solitary exception of Chocolate Mini-Wheats.

Breakfast cereals may not have more than 5 grams of sugar unless they also have 3 or more grams of fiber. Dark green or orange vegetables are to be served three times a week, a whole grain offering will be offered every day, and fruit juice will be available only twice a week.

The new offerings also keep down the sodium level.

The Chicago Tribune reports some kids refused to eat the new meals, others liked them, and some ate them seemingly without realizing the difference.

The Tribune’s Monica Eng report students complain in particular about the new pizza products with tougher crusts, “overly tangy and tomatoey” red beans and whole wheat pasta, and “canned pears that taste like wet toilet paper,” among other unpopular offerings. Eng reports that a processed chicken patty is the only item that is universally popular.

But a year ago, students were complaining about the old menu too. In March 2010, students planned a protest over what one called the “sickening pizza, chicken sandwiches and nachos” the schools were serving, and some wanted CPS to cancel its contract with food service provider Chartwells-Thompson.

Even though overall food sales are down about 5 percent, school officials note that 70 percent of students still eat at school and they are now eating better, the Tribune reported.

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