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Published August 20, 2010, 12:00 AM

Squirrels shape up snacks for school year

The Central Cass (N.D.) Squirrels will find themselves snacking on nuts and granola rather than chocolate and soda pop when school opens Monday.

By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

The Central Cass (N.D.) Squirrels will find themselves snacking on nuts and granola rather than chocolate and soda pop when school opens Monday.

The School District’s snack machines have received a healthy makeover to keep students from sliding into childhood obesity, Superintendent Mark Weston said Thursday.

“We’re trying to provide a healthier environment here,” he said.

Chips will be available, but only in healthier, baked versions. Bag sizes will be smaller for portion control, he said.

Pop and sports drinks will be replaced with water and fruit juices.

The idea is to avoid foods high in fat or sugar content, Weston said.

The lunch line will also have a salad bar with a wide range of choices to encourage healthier eating.

“We understand that obesity is going to put a burden on society,” Weston said.

Similar initiatives have been in place in Fargo-Moorhead metro schools for a few years, mandated by federal nutrition and wellness regulations.

Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead schools slimmed down their lunch menus, adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and emphasizing portion control. They also purged high-fat, high-calorie snack and drink items from vending machines.

Central Cass students and fans will still be able to buy pop and other popular snacks at sporting events, Weston said.

“We’re trying to use some reasonableness … to get some buy-in,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls obesity a serious health concern for children and teens. Results of the 2007-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that 17 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are obese.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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