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Poway Unified emphasizes nutrition as students head back to school

Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 16:15:25-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV)- Heading back to school can be pricey, with new clothes, school supplies and more. However — school lunch is not a cost that parents need to worry about, since the State of California provides meals to every student free of charge.

Poway Unified School District is putting an emphasis on nutrition.

The district is working with local farmers to serve items grown in San Diego County.

Some options for lunch include fruit and granola parfaits. Students will have a wide variety of options, including fresh salads, spicy chicken wraps, tacos, pulled pork sandwiches and more.

ABC 10News reporter Natay Holmes had a chance to visit the Meadowbrook Middle School cafeteria. It’s known as a "cluster kitchen," meaning the staff prepares the food for the middle school and six other schools nearby.

According to the California Department of Health, there is a direct correlation between a healthy diet and the student’s ability to learn and thrive.

This is one of the reasons the California Universal Meal Program was implemented throughout the state last year. This allows all students to eat breakfast and lunch for free.

The program has had a huge impact on students at PUSD.

“We are breaking records left and right for the history in the Poway School District,” says Michel Tune.

Tune is an area supervisor within the Food & Nutrition Department.

“We have never served as many meals as we've been serving, which means we are reaching more kids,” says Tune.

District leaders say they are serving approximately 17,000 lunches a day. That accounts for more than half of the students enrolled in PUSD. The number of students eating breakfast at the schools is about 3,000 to 4,000.

The staff says it is a lot more work on their end with the students taking advantage of the Universal Meal Program, but they know everyday they are able to fulfill a purpose: making sure students have a nice, healthy meal.