Do lunches make the grade? Schools face menu challenges

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Cooking school lunch for more than 17,000 students every day requires finding a balance between preparing healthy food that meets nutrition requirements and serving something children and teens will actually eat.

Kitchen staff in schools are tweaking menus, cooking food from scratch and preparing more fresh fruits and vegetables in order to meet both requirements.

Some of the more than 300 cooks who work daily arrive around 7 a.m. at more than 30 kitchens to start fixing breakfast before getting to work on lunch. In Center Grove schools, cooks make taco meat from scratch or make their own pasta sauce because it’s the best way to meet federal benchmarks that stipulate how much sodium students can have each week.

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