School lunch shock: Escambia County mother concerned over menu options

School lunch shock: Escambia County mother concerned over menu options. (Source: WEAR-TV)

School lunches have come a long way from what you might remember, long gone are the days of sloppy joes and meatloaf.

However, one Escambia County mother is not happy with one of the options on this week's menu.

A granola yogurt parfait with garlic and herb green beans and a cheese stick; it was on the lunch menu Tuesday.

The Escambia County School District website paints a tasty picture of what the meal should look like, but Lauren Anderson saw a much different version when she was visiting her daughter at McArthur Elementary.

"Yogurt in a bowl with cinnamon toast crunch sprinkled on top, I didn't see any fruit," said Anderson. "The green beans were dry and look like they came out of a can."

Anderson reached out to the district director of food service, but did not have much luck.

"She sent me an email and asked me to forward any recommendations that I may have," said Anderson. "That was her response."

We met up with Jaleena Davis, and showed her a side-by-side comparison of what is online versus what was offered.

"I can't control the photography or the lighting in terms of the green beans and how they're coming across in the photo," said Davis.

Serving lunch to 22,000 students a day district-wide, Davis assures us all menu options meet USDA guidelines and health standards.

Davis says the parfait does have fruit, it's under the yogurt, adding they offer two versions: one with granola (like the photo) and one with cereal (like the one Anderson's daughter chose) - as for the appearance:

"We chose not to serve it in a clear plastic cup, because the cup often falls over," said Davis. "Wo, we've decided to serve it in a bowl, to keep the students from dropping the parfait."

Presentation aside, Anderson is not satisfied, and she will be taking up her concerns with the PTA.

"It's not a well-balanced meal for a kid that you're expecting to focus and perform academically in school," said Anderson.

Anderson says her daughter will no longer be making trips through the lunch line.

"After what I saw yesterday, every day she will have a packed lunch," said Anderson.

Davis told us the district sends out surveys twice a year for parents, faculty and staff to evaluate menu options.

If you have immediate questions or concerns, contact the district food service here:

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