Except for the chocolate milk, the Plains School District lunch menu sounds like something you’d order off the menu of a sit-down restaurant: honeydew, tossed green salad, chicken Alfredo, warm homemade whole-wheat bread, steamed vegetables.

Yumma.

The new healthy school lunch fare is the work of the new Plains School District cook, Larri-Jo Ovitt, “a Plains native who graduated from the high school in 1993, had worked at restaurants in California … (and) recently returned to Plains, where her weekly grilled cheese sandwich and chicken soup with homemade noodles combo won raves at The Circle restaurant in town.”

Grilled cheese and chicken soup with homemade noodles sounds like a sure-fire winner with my 6-year-old. And it sounds like Ovitt is winning over the kids in Plains, if these comments from the story are any indication:

“She makes new foods like we never had before,” said fourth-grader Rachel Huenink, 10.

“She has a special touch,” added fellow fourth-grader Haley Josephson, also 10.

Bryce Hening, 12, in sixth grade, said he knew what that was:

“I think it’s got some secret ingredient.”

The emphasis on more fruits, vegetables and variety ties in nicely with the recent update to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. A nice roundup of the revisions and some of the nation-wide reactions to the changes is available thanks to Courtney Lowery Cowgill, a Montana writer, editor and farmer, via New West.

Meanwhile, the Billings Gazette provides a nice run-down of some other Montana communities’ efforts to encourage students to lead healthier lives. Here’s the editorial take-home line:  “Building healthy kids isn’t one big project; it’s many small daily decisions that parents, caregivers and educators make.”

And in other school news, students got to watch the old Stevensville junior high school building come down yesterday. And you can watch it too, by clicking here. The video is less than 3 minutes long, and I recommend watching it with the volume turned way up to get the full effect.

Photo by DAVID ERICKSON

Photo by DAVID ERICKSON