DULUTH - Nearly a thousand lunchroom workers from across Minnesota are learning how to implement healthier meals in school cafeterias.
They gathered at the DECC for the 56th annual Minnesota School Nutrition Association Conference.
For three days they'll learn about improving school nutrition programs.
Nearly 1,000 lunchroom ladies and a few men gathered to learn how to become better food service professionals and improve school nutrition programs.
"It's a good thing because you know then that will get our kids encouraged and eat healthy," Food Service Professional Audrey Klimek said.
Food service professionals will learn about anything from menu planning to making fresh breads and ethnic foods, while listening to keynote speakers like TV Chef personality Andrew Zimmern.
"I think one of the things that I can do is show people how there are food challenges that have been overcome on other parts of the world that we might do well to learn and benefit from," said Zimmern.
The bulk of the conference will focus on implementing the new Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.
“We're learning all about some of the new regulations that are coming for fall," Minnesota School Nutrition Association President Allison Bradford said.
Kids going through the cafeteria line will definitely see a change.
Gone are the days where their trays will consist of just fish sticks, bread and milk.
"They have to take a fruit and vegetable," said Klimek.
The new regulation also calls for reduction in calories, half of the grains served have to be whole grains and low sodium items will join the menu.
"Hopefully more of these changes will impact the kids so it’s a healthy environment and impact their health and their learning," said Bradford.
Officials say it's also in an effort to fight childhood obesity.
"That is at the forefront and schools are part of making sure that we educate kids to eat right," said Bradford.
The new regulations are helping kids eat healthier and making lunch ladies proud of what they serve.
"We don't wanna be that you know lunch lady that give you that crap," said Klimek.
The conference will run until August 1.