Finding ways to make school lunches healthier for kids

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - Parents know it is a struggle to try and get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

School lunch professionals have the same problem. This week, thousands of school nutrition professionals are working to crack the code to make kids eat more greens.

The School Nutrition Association's Annual National Conference kicked off Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

"We know there has been an epidemic of diabetes and hypertension increasing in children and so we want them to come up with creative ways to come up with creative ways to get them to try new fruits and vegetables," says Brenda Wattles, chef and registered dietitian.

Chefs and school food service leaders shared recipes and taste-tested dishes like the Krazy Kale Salad and Confetti Fruit Salad before they land in school lunch trays across America and even in other countries.

Shawn O'Neal is a food service director in Taipei American School in Taiwan.

"Even though it's a different culture and the cuisine is different but I think the basic needs are the same and we want to have nutritious items on our menu," says O'Neal.

Throughout the week-long conference, experts will get the chance to learn more about the best practices for serving healthy and delicious meals to kids in school -- all while meeting the budget.

There will also be exhibits and sessions on food safety and waste management.

"People always have unique ideas. You always learn something no matter who you meet. You always learn something from them," says O'Neal.

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