Atlanta schools put kale smoothies on the lunch menu

Serving sushi in Atlanta school cafeterias was what they call a learning opportunity.

Sushi had its season, says Atlanta nutrition services director Marilyn Hughes, but it didn’t turn over fast enough when it was on the menu last year to keep around.

Now sushi is out and kale smoothies are in.

Atlanta high schools will add kale smoothies—a mixture of kale, orange juice and pineapple—to their menus this week. Eventually middle schools will too.

The smoothies made it through monthly student taste tests with flying colors, Hughes said. Fruit- and yogurt-based breakfast smoothies are already a regular offering.

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Atlanta was one of five districts nationally recognized this week for their work to make school lunches healthier by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes preventive medicine.

One of the elements cited in Atlanta’s award is the district’s “More Please” campaign that lets students take a second trip through cafeteria salad bars — for free.

“If a child wants more salad they can come back at no cost,” Hughes said.

Georgia Organics and the Georgia departments of education, agriculture and public health also recognized Atlanta as one of 39 school districts in the “farm to school” movement statewide, citing the district’s work to serve regionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and establish schoolhouse gardens.

Update: District spokesman James Malone shared these words of encouragement for sushi lovers: Sushi may be off the menu this fall, but is scheduled to return later this year.

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