About 200 Columbia County school system nutritionists had a full day at their annual in-service program Aug. 3 at Greenbrier High School.
They listened to guest speakers, learned about the history of school nutrition and heard about changes to the nutrition program.
Jane Wiggins, the Columbia County school system director of nutrition services, said the schools will change from a nutrient-based to a food-based menu plan.
"There are three different menu plan options that you can opt to use under the law," she said. "(The food-based plan) gives the managers more flexibility in making changes or adding items to the menu."
Wiggins said new food options this year include popcorn chicken, boneless drumsticks and corn dogs with whole-grain batter.
High school and middle school menus also will feature Asian stir-fry entrees.
Josephine Martin, an honorary advisor to the Georgia School Nutrition Association, talked about the history of school nutrition.
Annette Bomar Hopgood, a member of the School Nutrition Association Public Policy and Legislation Committee for the Southeast Region, discussed public policy, including school nutrition topics, and why people should get involved.
"The information that comes from the local level is what goes up to the top," said Jo Marie Lombard, the school nutrition coordinator.
The school nutritionists also had the opportunity to make their voices heard by registering to vote, writing letters to newly elected state representatives and voting for their favorite school lunch.
Statewide issues include funding for school breakfast, encouraging legislation to fight childhood obesity and employee retirement benefits, Lombard said.
She also said the Columbia County nutritionists selected Patty Mac 'n' Cheese as their favorite meal over competitors Jesse Wrap, Pippa Potato, Biff Burger and Yumi Rice Bowl.
"Vote for School Lunch" is the official theme of National School Lunch Week, which will be Oct. 15-19.
Kathy Kirkland, a Greenbrier High School food nutritionist assistant, and Helen Gunby, a Westmont Elementary School nutritionist, said they enjoyed the day's history lesson.
"I learned that we take a lot for granted," Kirkland said.
Gunby said she enjoyed hearing about school lunches in the 1950s.
"That was close to my time," she said.
Lindsay Schwarz, a voter education coordinator for the Georgia Secretary of State office, said the voter registration drive was a success.
Most of the nutritionists already were registered to vote, she said, but many updated their information.
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