VCU professor will study Chesterfield student’s reaction to new menu

Posted at 7:58 PM, Sep 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-02 19:58:31-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – It was the first day of school and hundreds of Ecoff Elementary students are all pumped; excited about new friends, new teachers and some excited over the healthier new food menu.

Mother Carrie Coyner, who is also on the Chesterfield School Board and the county’s Wellness Council, says she’s thrilled about what the school system is trying to do.

“It’s great; there’s even an app that you can download and see the ingredients in the food, the calories,” Coyner added. “You can see the menu, the good healthy meals – it’s exciting.”

Coyner, who sat with the kids at lunch today, believes the kids are adapting pretty well to the new options.

One Virginia Commonwealth University professor will actually studying the reaction, and will research just how much students like the healthier options.

Suzanne Mazzeo received a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for $100,000.

Her research will focus on the eating habits of first, second and third graders at two Chesterfield County schools.

She will track how much of the healthy food is thrown away by students.

Part of the study includes taste testing. The schools will give students the opportunity to try new healthy fruits and veggies before they hit the menu.

Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome says it’s all about educating the students on good healthy choices, and making the food tasty, yet nutritious.

“We’re trying to change the culture,” Newsome said. “It starts here in school, but it will take a while; I think they will embrace the choices.”