Sacred Heart Catholic School changes school lunches - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Sacred Heart Catholic School changes school lunches

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Sacred Heart Catholic School faced a unique problem in 2011; the kids were throwing away their lunches.

"We noticed with our high school, but also with our elementary schools, they were not eating their lunches. They were throwing them away," said Cafeteria Manager, Allison Leatherwood.

Sacred Heart Cafeteria Manager, Allison Leatherwood says the school got rid of the national school lunch program.

"The more that the regulations changed, the smaller the portions became, the less seasonings we were allowed to use," said Leatherwood.

Leatherwood says the school lunches were bland, all whole wheat, even looking alike. She added eventually the students stopped eating.

"I heard several stories about kids being hungry during the day. I heard about them being hungry after lunch, because they were not eating their lunch,"said Leatherwood.

Leatherwood says the school switched to U.S. Food, and the new school year brought new menus for Sacred Heart high schoolers, and the elementary is enjoying its first week of better food.

"Tastier, more well seasoned products that we know our kids will eat, so we don't have as much waste," said Leatherwood.

Leatherwood believes seasoning was the key to better meals, but she hasn't forgotten the nutritional guidelines.

"I'm aware of what the nutritional guidelines are for the state are, so I try to keep what we serve in line with those guidelines,"said Leatherwood.

She still serves the five comp onents: bread, meat, vegetables, fruit and milk along with a variety of salads, but she made sure taste was back on the menu.

"I serve a hot entree everyday, which could be spaghetti, Shepard pie. Number two, which is a sandwich, the third options is always a salad. Our fourth option is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," said Leatherwood.

Teachers and students welcome the change.

"The kids have been so excited and we have had a lot more children buying lunches, and today we are having breakfast for lunch, and the kids are super excited about that,"said Pre-K Teacher, April Wittmann.

"The kids are so excited. They came in yesterday saying this was the best day of the cafeteria ever, and it was just nice to see some excitement because we haven't seen that in a very long time here. We have seen tears, but we haven't seen excitement," said Leatherwood.