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Last month, MPS processed over 53,000 applications for subsidies. That number is up about 6.6% from last year, making it about 69% of students who use the program according to an article in last week’s JS Online.
Most blame the economy for the bad situation.
Thankfully, MPS is starting to find ways to make the dollar stretch. Last spring they partnered with Growing Power, Inc., to incorporate more vegetables into the district's snack program, improve the lunch nutrition, and provide better vending machine options. The report goes on to say that individual schools are also working with local farmers to include more fruits and vegetables on school lunch menus.
“Milwaukee Public Schools follow federal nutrition guidelines serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy than ever before,” according to the MPS portal.
School nutrition professional prepare and serve balanced, nutritious meals in age-appropriate portion sizes that provided needed nutrition and promote healthy childhood weights. School lunch provides one-third of the recommended dietary allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and calories.”
But many schools still don’t have enough money to hire kitchen staff for the amount of time it would take to make a truly nutritious meal, so paying a little extra for pre-packaged, pre-prepared food is the only solution.
A few snacks offered are healthy, but there has been little research done on the extra options available to kids at lunchtime which require money but are usually unhealthy. (It seems some children have the money to buy chips and fruit snacks but they don’t eat their free lunch).
What about local smoothie shops? Business isn’t as good in winter and kids love smoothies as much as adults. Some schools should consider that option.
Applications are still being accepted for Milwaukee Public Schools free or reduced-price lunch.
Do you think MPS meals are nutritious?
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