FORT MILL — You might not recognize his name, but Roland Cabading has been working all year long to provide healthier food to Fort Mill students.
As the school district’s student nutrition supervisor, Cabading spent much of 2011 reworking the district’s menus to make sure they were as healthy as possible. It was in 2012, though, that Cabading hit his stride, implementing all of the USDA regulations aimed at increasing the nutritional value of school lunches.
Whole wheat pizza crust, whole grain pasta and rice replaced white varieties, and fresh fruit became a staple of each meal.
There was resistance at first, he said, as students began trying new dishes like cucumber salad and baked sweet potato fries. Cabading set up nutrition classes for elementary school students to talk to them about healthy eating and encourage them to try new foods. They taste-tested new items before they appeared on their cafeteria plates, and eventually students got used to the changes.
There was also a change in the district’s food bill. Now, a local food market is where much of the food is bought because, Cabading said, “Fresh is best.”
Students are slowly getting used to the changes. When a student sees collard greens on his plate, Cabading said earlier this year, there are fewer complaints, he said.
“It’s a small victory,” Cabading said. “But it’s a victory.”