EDUCATION

Manassas school gets federal attention for what it's cooking up in the cafeteria

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A Prince William Co. school is getting federal attention for what it's cooking up in the cafeteria as part of the USDA's HealthierUs School Challenge.

Representatives with U.S Department of Agriculture took a lunch break at Yorkshire Elementary in Manassas.

They had a tasting party with a purpose - get kids hooked on healthy foods.

About 50 fifth-graders at Yorkshire Elementary are learning what they should put on their plate and helping mold their lunch menu.

"If we can find foods that they're excited about and that they will eat, we can hopefully change some of their eating habits," says Serena Suthers, Prince William Co. Schools Director of Food Services.

These students were treated to a variety of new options wednesday - from frozen pineapple spears and sunbutter on apple wedges to plantains, broccoli-cauliflower salad and a kid favorite with a surprising twist.

"We are great for stealing good ideas and learning from bad ideas," says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton.

Thornton is one of the brains behind "the school day just got healthier" campaign.

It set new nutrition standards that cut back on fats, salt and sugar. And it emphasizes portions of whole grains, fruits and veggies.

Small steps, putting kids on the road to better health.

The kids at Yorkshire are already making the grade for healthy-eating. Their school is one of just a couple of hundred in the nation awarded the government's highest distinction for nutritional excellence.

You can see the list of those schools, by state, here: HealthierUs School Challenge.

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