Health over hunger?

By Anna Yee

September 27, 2012 Updated Sep 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- The lunch ladies are now telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables and students don't really have a choice.

New federal guidelines are mandating healthier school lunches across the country.

The new guidelines mean required servings of fruits and veggies, protein, and whole grains, options Stevenson Elementary School has been easing into for the past couple years.

"It was kind of hard starting up, because they weren't used to that, and now they just grab as they go," said Charlene Formella, the Food Service Manager at Stevenson.

"And, I think that they're enjoying it more. If they're hungry at the end, you do see them eating their fruit and vegetable. It may be the last choice, but they do do it, so it's a good thing."

However, not everyone finds the new guidelines easy to swallow, especially teenagers.

In Sharon Springs, Kansas, some high school students and their teacher made a music video dubbed "We are Hungry," spoofing the tune "We Are Young," by Fun.

That video lashes out against the mandatory calorie cap and went viral since its youtube debut last week.

Formella says she hasn't noticed that problem at Stevenson Elementary or throughout District 87.

She says that's due in part to the schools having working kitchens,which gives the students even more healthier options.

It's not just children being targeted in McLean County.

The health department reports nearly 40% of adults are overweight and more than 20% are considered obese.

The McLean County Health Department is encouraging everyone to start making health a priority.

Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health, various county businesses and schools can get some help transforming their environment into a healthier place.

"It is possible for you to take your health into your own hands and also to provide for your family, for your neighbors," said Kera Simon, Communication Specialist for the McLean Co. Health Dept. "We want to turn this into a community effort which is why we're granting out the $96,000."

An effort that's being emphasized almost everywhere, to every body.

For more information on the "We Choose Health" grant, visit

Applications are due October 17, by 5:00 p.m.

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