Healthy School Meals That Are Also Tasty? Springfield, Mass., Gives It A Try

Ben James, New England Public Radio

Photo by Ben James, New England Public Radio

Kali Ransom, a FoodCorps AmeriCorps volunteer, is in charge of the garden program at Boland and other schools. Part of her job is to help kids get interested in new foods.

“You can’t just go in and be like, ‘Hey, try this thing, and be excited about it,’ when they’re tired, and they don’t have energy,” she said. “You have to build those relationships, and show them they can trust you and open up to you, and it will go from there.”  

But not all of Ransom’s students are thrilled about the sandwiches, muffins and other new foods from the culinary center.

One doubter is Schneider Gonzalez Morales, who said he’s all about cereal.

“Cereal — and, like, only milk,” he said.

Schneider chose to skip the ham-and-cheese sandwich.

“I don’t like the yellow cheese that much, and I don’t like the meat that much,” he said.

Back in 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama got a lot of flak for trying to make school lunches more nutritious. The sudden menu changes led to reports of the new, healthier foods ending up in the trash.

In Springfield, school officials are taking the long game toward changing kids’ eating habits.