Keeping Track of Kids' Eating at School

Reporter: Shannon Samson

When your children come home from school, are they completely ravenous and head straight to the fridge before they even set down their backpacks?

Maybe they're not eating enough at school. Some may not be eating anything at all and pocketing their lunch money. Well now, you can find out what they're really up to.

Castle Elementary School students don't have to worry about forgetting their lunch money anymore. All they have to remember now is a PIN number to pay for their meals. The Meal Tracker management system keeps track of how much money is in their accounts.

It helps cafeteria managers figure out what food to order and it can help parents figure out why their children never seem to have enough lunch money. Food service manager Shenae Rowe says, "We can always pull up that report and it will show exactly what that student ate, whether they bought a piece of pizza, an extra order of bread sticks or a bottled water. So, we can always look that up and see where that money went to."

So now, parents can help take responsibility for what their children eat away from home, which can be important if they're among the 15 percent of American kids who are overweight.

Warrick schools are more health conscious than ever, using low fat ingredients as much as possible and baking instead of frying when possible. Flavored water, skim and one percent milk are the big seller these days as opposed to the two percent and whole that used to line the shelves.

Rowe says, "I think we all need to work together to help make our children a lot healthier. I think we can definitely do our part in the schools to make things better and we've made gradual changes to improve that, just offering healthier snacks, making food items a lot healthier, cutting back on the butter or margarine."

Every standard lunch they serve has an entree, a fruit, a vegetable and a milk in reasonably-sized portions. The trick is getting the kids to stay away from some of the fatty ala carte items. Now, too much junk food will go on their permanent record.