By Stefanie Bainum
MOUNT PLEASANT S.C. (WCIV) – Lunchtime is a time many kids look forward to during their school day. At Laing Middle School of Science and Technology in Mount Pleasant, lunchtime just got a whole lot healthier. School officials have cut all fried foods out of the menu and are sticking with fresh fruit and veggies.
"One thing that we have noticed is the amount of obese students here at Laing and the fact that a lot of our students get lethargic after lunch, and so we were thinking if we rid our schools of a lot of these unhealthy foods then our students will have the opportunity to learn better and be healthier," Laing Middle School Principal Deborah Price said.
It's a bold move from the school--and at first, Cafeteria Manager Jackie Roper says one the kids were not too happy about.
"The children have asked why we don't have anymore fried food, sugary drinks, and I told them we're just eating healthier now," Jackie Roper said. "I thought at one time they wouldn't eat it, but now they seem to like it and are getting into it more."
Now Roper says, the kids are more upbeat about the changes and are learning and tasting new fruits and vegetables. Roper says the biggest cheerleaders of the change are parents.
"We've had response where parents have called to let us know that the children are trying to eat healthier now at home and go grocery shopping where they choose healthier fruits and vegetables," Roper said.
Instead of frying foods, Roper says the cafeteria staff bakes everything – even french fries. The school has also taken out all snack vending machines. Roper says knowing she's helping the kids invest in their health is priceless.
"It makes me feel real good. I wish I had known this earlier to teach my children as well."