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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- No cupcakes or cookies for birthdays: that's the new rule at St. Gabriel School, where those birthday foods are banned in favor of things like celery sticks and raisins.
It's all in the name of making healthy choices.
At lunch time, preschooler Matt has his crown on as he celebrates his birthday. But he will not be celebrating with sugary treats. That's because those items are banned from his school.
Principal Pam Huelsman says some parents still want to bring in cupcakes. She says, "I have to be honest with you. They sneak some of this in every once in awhile, and on those, we have the teachers hand them out at the end of the day so they can eat them at home with their parents' permission."
Parents received a letter about what to bring for birthday treats. It includes cheese crackers, graham crackers, fruits, veggies, breakfast bars (no chocolate), cheerios, and yogurt.
Non-food items like stickers and pencils are also recommended since some students have food allergies.
Huelsman says, "we are not totally getting away from students having fun. As far as the school though, as far as our school day, we want it to be healthy."
That includes the lunch menu using guidelines from the national school lunch program. All milk is now 1 percent or fat free. Breads are whole grain. Vegetables and fruits have increased from a half-cup to one cup. Today's choice for the kids was corn or kale. As you would suspect, very few kids chose the green leafy vegetable. But the principal has a way to get kids to try it by adding ketchup.
Huelsman says, "We used to have tater tots. Now it's sweet potatoes for tots."
The menu change throughout the Archdiocese of Louisville is taking some time to get used to. Students are making healthy plates that include salad.
Leisa Schulz, the Archdiocese of Louisville Superintendent says, "Some of the schools have received feedback from students and parents that they were caught by surprise and they are noticing very distinct differences in what they are tasting in the food items because they are not used to that."
Huelsman says fast food is also banned from the school. Parents are not allowed to bring their children fast food to eat for lunch.