When students are healthy, they are in class and ready to learn.
That's why Compton Unified School District (CUSD) works hard to serve students with nutritious meals every day.
Through it's new partnership with Better 4 You Meals, students are enjoying fresh, pre-packaged meals including: orange chicken with fresh broccoli and brown rice, cheese tamales, green chile and potato breakfast burrito. All meals served with fresh fruit and steamed or fresh vegetables.
All school sites have breakfast and supper by Better 4 You Meals twice weekly. (Tuesdays and Thursdays), and secondary schools are served their lunches daily.
Antoinette Pearce, Interim Senior Director of CUSD Student Nutrition, said the District sought the input of students from all of its high schools, who tasted and evaluated the food offered by the vendor during a special taste test in October of last year.
"Frozen or processed meals contain a lot more sodium, more preservatives. Fresh meals taste better, so the students actually want to eat the meals," she said.
"Students who are not hungry do better in school, and it's awfully important to educate them in better eating habits. We want to offer a good home-cooked type meal. These meals are a much healthier option than processed, frozen meals. In the long run they're more nutritionally balanced."
During the first week of the program Whaley Middle School immediately saw increase in students eating lunch. They went from 390 students the previous week to 460 students served.
Sixth-grader Keionna Johnson was quick to share her love for the new meals.
"They're delicious. So far I've tried teriyaki chicken and Philly cheesesteak with salad and fruit," she said. "And I love the grapes they give us."
Keene added, "The way the food is served is better. The flavor is better. I'm eating healthier now and I can see it because I'm losing more weight."
Eighth-grader Joseph Sanchez is also a big fan of Better 4 You Meals' lunches.
"The food the cafeteria started serving tastes really good," he said. "Today I'm eating teriyaki with broccoli, carrots, and rice. The food is healthier. I'm always eating vegetables."
Cynthia Shigg, student nutrition supervisor at Whaley Middle School, said that as students become acquainted with the new lunch program she seeks their feedback.
"I've been asking them to come through and be my taste testers. I want to know what they like, what they don't like, and what could be better. I'm finding out that they love the salads. " she said.
"There's now a variety for the students. They have options and they like what they're eating. The rice is brown rice, the vegetables are steamed, there's not a lot of sugar or salt, and overall it's just better for them."