FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence One is on a mission to provide healthier and more colorful meals that are packed with the nutrients students need.
Florence One is currently looking at what other school districts across the country and the state, such as Greenville County Schools, are doing to improve their food and offer a wider selection of entrees for breakfast and lunch.
Briggs Elementary School Principal Tara Newton says the goal is giving students options and the nutrition that they need to get through the school day. She says the school no longer serves boxed cereal and packaged treats because students who snack on sugary foods tend to lose focus in class quickly and can have behavioral problems. She says she’s noticed improved behavior among students since introducing new healthy food options that include protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. The school also has two new additions: a snack stand and a garden. Students can stop by the snack stand at any time to grab an apple, a banana, or a box of raisins. In the Farm-to-School garden, which the school received a $4,000 grant for about four years ago, students learn about different types of produce, vegetables, and herbs. They also get hands-on experience in growing them.
“One of the main things that we want to do is create healthy, informed eaters in the children that we come in contact with daily,” said Agricultural Education teacher Jeff Murrie. “We want them to grow up to be healthier. And being healthier in school will actually allow them to learn better, retain more knowledge while they’re at school, and lessen discipline problems as well.”
Principal Newton says she’s hoping to get rid of the current lunch menu items (such as corn dogs, hot dogs, and meat loaf) and replace them with foods like baked chicken and chicken Parmesan. Newton tells News13 the school has already introduced new breakfast items like eggs and grits meals served with fresh fruit. They also unveiled their brand new Yogurt Bar on Friday. Faculty members say it has already proven to be a big hit.
“It’s been a huge success. In one day, we served over 100 yogurt parfaits to the children,” Murrie said. “The yogurt bar is something they will have every single morning as an option. With granola, honey, and fresh fruit.”
Faculty members say it’s all about keeping kids healthy, energized and focused during school, and helping them be more conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies.
“We want to send home a healthy child each day. And I think we play a huge part in that because we’re charged in taking care of children during the day so we should be providing them the most nutritious food options that we possibly can,” said Murrie.
Briggs also hopes to roll out a salad bar soon. Principal Newton says other goals include updating kitchen equipment, installing a hydroponic container garden on campus, and using hard trays instead of styrofoam.