Durham, N.C. — Healthy changes are on the menu for Durham's Public Schools lunchrooms, with students finding everything from soy milk to more "scratch-made" meals in school cafeterias to help them get through the day.
James Keaten, the school district's new director of child nutrition, decided to promote more home-cooking, from having cafeterias roast their own turkeys to making lasagna.
"It tastes better than what comes pre-processed," said Deloris Abram, who ate lunch with her granddaughter Tuesday at Eno Elementary School.
Sixty-two percent of Durham students rely on their schools for their primary nutrients, Keaten said, meaning healthier options are a responsible move.
"We've implemented all of our bread products, including breadings on meat products, are all whole grain," Keaten said, noting that federal requirements call for schools to have at least half of their bread products whole grain.
The changes, including buying more local fresh fruits and vegetables, have added $90,000 to the district's school lunch budget, he said.
Abram said she can taste the difference, noting that school cafeterias served plenty of starchy food when her children were students.
"This year, with the whole grain and the fruit, I enjoy them eating fruit because it keeps them healthier and balanced," she said.
Another healthy change involves removing all fryers from district schools. Officials started removing them eight years ago and will finish the process by the end of this school year, Keaten said.