MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite government plans to reduce school lunch nutrition standards, one Minnesota district vows not to change. School leaders in Inver Grove Heights say nutrition is critical to learning and simply can’t roll back.

District leaders got a visit from Congresswoman Angie Craig on Tuesday; the 2nd Congressional District Representative supports legislation that would better protect students receiving free and reduced school lunch.

Of the Inver Grove Heights district’s 3,600 students, 42% qualify for free or reduced meals.

Craig says, as a child, she too needed reduced cost school lunch. So she is co-sponsoring a bill to prevent the shaming of needy students.

“We want to make sure kids get access to good nutrition and want to make sure they have access to healthy options,” Craig said. “I’ve heard too many stories about students not being able to learn to their full ability because they aren’t getting proper nutrition.”

There’s also concern of a federal roll back of nutrition standards. In 2010, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act improved nutrition, by adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods to school lunch menus.

The administration says it’s too costly and wasteful. School leaders strongly disagree. Despite federal changes, the district vows to keep the fruits and vegetables coming.

“We want to give kids every advantage we can and those advantages are linked to having healthy meals, meals that make sure they can learn during the day,” ISD 199 superintendent Dave Bernhardson said. “We talk about public health and nutrition and type one diabetes and all these things. It’s important that we continue to focus on good nutrition in our public schools.”

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