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Fairfield Parents Praise Healthier School Lunches

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s students are eating healthier in school this year, and their parents say they’re happy with the changes.

The Fairfield Public Schools’ food services program rolled out new menus at the start of the school year to coincide with new federal guidelines for healthier meals. The new meals now have extra servings of fruits and vegetables, with one of each offered daily. All students buying lunch must take the fruit, the vegetable or both.

The new menus also feature more whole grains, no trans fats, fat-free milk and fewer calories. Lean finely textured beef, which was dubbed “pink slime” in news reports about its production last spring, has also been cut from the menu entirely.

“I've got to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the new menus this year,” reader Andrew Graceffa wrote on a prompt on The Daily Voice ’s Facebook page . “My kids don't eat school lunches a lot but the healthier choices certainly give us more options on those crazy days.”

The food services department is also continuing its effort to make more meals from scratch in its cafeterias instead of pre-packaged meals. For example, elementary school students will end this week with a chicken, edamame and brown rice dish on Thursday and pizzas with whole-grain crusts on Friday.

“Please explain these changes to your child before they arrive at school and encourage them to try these new foods,” wrote food services director Joann Fitzpatrick in a letter to parents. “They just might find a new favorite!”

The changes did come with some higher prices — 25 cents per lunch — to pay for raises to the cafeteria staff. But The Daily Voice reader and Fairfield parent Julie Finneran said that the price was still worth it, particularly for a healthier lunch.

“My kindergartener will be the oldest of four, and not even a month into school, I know how quickly sending him with a packed lunch is going to be a drag!” Finneran wrote. “And at $2.45, it probably costs nearly as much to pack him a healthy, balanced lunch. It is nice to have another healthy option.”

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