Monday, October 22, 2007

Chartwells' School Lunches Not Such Lucky Charms; Are Trix Really for Kids?

Date Published: 10-22-07
Newsweek Magazine
by Daniel McGinn

This is National School Lunch Week, so be sure to ask your children what tasty cafeteria food they've been eating lately—and if they mention Trix or Cocoa Puffs, don't be too surprised. Even as legislators have banned soda from schools, some cafeterias have begun adding cold cereal to the traditional noontime repast of pizza, PB&J and pork rolls.

The main company behind the cereal-for-lunch menus is Chartwells School Dining Services, a company serving nearly 550 districts nationwide. Margie Saidel, Chartwells' director of nutrition, defends the move, noting that most schools are using wholesome cereal like Rice Krispies, Cheerios or Raisin Bran—and the ones offering sugary brands like Trix, Cocoa Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, she says, are using low-sugar, whole-grain versions containing just two grams of sugar per serving. Alongside the vitamin-fortified cereal, students receive fresh fruit, yogurt or cheese, and low-fat milk.

Together, these meals exceed government requirements. And while too much traditional cafeteria food winds up in the garbage, cereal is something most kids actually want to eat. "This is a power-packed meal that I would stand behind any day," Saidel says.

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