MPS partners to increase healthy food options for students

November 14, 2019

Serving breakfast and lunch to nearly 76,000 students every school day is a big task, and selecting healthy foods that children enjoy can be a challenge, but this work is about to get a little easier. Through a partnership with the Life Time Foundation, the Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Nutrition Services will evaluate foods and look for substitutions to eliminate certain additives and processed ingredients that may have health consequences.

The partnership was announced on November 7 at Manitoba School, with district leaders and the Life Time Foundation pledging to improve health and the ability to learn for Milwaukee’s children. “Many of our families depend upon school meals to feed their children,” said Dr. Keith P. Posley, superintendent. “We owe it to our young learners to remove ingredients that can interfere with good health or brain function. Better health can lead to better success in school.”

The Life Time Foundation is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that is helping 310,000 students at 544 schools across the country. The Foundation’s registered dietician will team up with MPS to review food labels and recommend changes, with the goal of eliminating the “Harmful 7” ingredients: trans fats and hydrogenated oils; high-fructose corn syrup; hormones and antibiotics; processed and artificial sweeteners; artificial colors and flavors; artificial preservatives; and bleached flour. The district has already eliminated two of these categories from foods offered to students, and is grateful to have support to continue to remove certain ingredients from menus.

“We don’t know all the long-term effects of certain food additives on growing children,” said Jason Thunstrom, vice president of the Life Time Foundation. “We are committed to finding ways to offer cleaner, healthier foods to give children an opportunity to grow up with good health and avoid consequences later in life.”

MPS will work with the Life Time Foundation over a three-year period to evaluate and make changes to breakfast and lunch programs. To learn more about the “Harmful 7” food categories, visit the Life Time Foundation website at https://www.ltfoundation.org.