LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- School nutrition programs are experiencing a lot of change these days.
"It's just gotten so much better," says Longfellow Middle School nutrition Manager Jerri Donley.
Donley sees nutrition in school lunches improve each year.
"The nutrition aspect has really come through a lot stronger," she says.
Regulations always required school lunches to meet nutrition standards, but Jerri says they're finding ways to improve on that.
"These kids at this age, middle school, high school, are growing so fast. I've read a study that says they should eat every hour. Well we can't do that, but at least we can provide them a good, big, nutritious breakfast," Jerri says.
Despite initial budget restrictions, schools are finding ways, like using grant money, to not only make lunches more nutritious, but also, to educate their students.
"These grants are definitely the catalysts to fill the gaps to help be able to purchase items that normally we would not be able to afford," says Joni Ralph of the school nutrition program.
Schools are doing things like taking salt off the menu and finding spicy seasoning instead.
This coming year, students will only find wheat bread in La Crosse schools.
Most of the food is homemade too.
"And you say, 'You know, you gotta try this. It's really good.' It's amazing what the kids will try and they really do like it," Jerri says.
The cooks hope nutritious meals help students pursue more healthy habits and lifestyles.
La Crosse schools are also getting involved in the farm to school program, which finds local produce to use in school lunch rooms.
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