BOISE -- Students heading back to school in Idaho and Oregon might notice some changes in the cafeteria. Meals will now be healthier, because of new USDA standards.

Lunch time, some would argue is the best part of the school day.

It's what Deborah Bourland and a handful of other workers work toward every day.

It's fairly busy today, not too bad though, said Bourland.

While that sounds normal, there are some big changes happening on lunch trays not only at Grace Jordan Elementary School in Boise, but across the state.

It's better quality food. I think it's gotten a lot better. A lot more whole wheat, like I said, a lot more fruits and vegetables, said Bourland.

Angela Gaul is with the Boise School District's Food and Nutrition Department.

We switched from white rice to brown rice, and we switched from white pasta to whole grain pasta and we did that a couple years ago, said Gaul.

Over the past few years the district has made some changes to the lunches to make them healthier, but new USDA standards have made school lunches that much better.

Those standards make for lower calorie meals with less sodium and more whole grains.

The purpose is to keep our kids from becoming obese and it's purpose is for them to eat better. To eat more healthy, nutritious food, said Bourland.

Just a few days into the school year and improvements have already been noticed.

In the three short days that we've been in service, just by one simple thing of moving our healthful choice bar, our vegetable bar in front of the serving line, students are taking more vegetables, which is a great thing, said Gaul.

Better, fresher, healthier food for kids means a little more work for Bourland, but she says it's worth it.

I think it's a great program. I think we have the best program there is for a school, she said.

In addition to trying to make as many elements of the lunch fresh, the Boise School District is trying to buy local as much as possible.

These are the first significant changes to the school lunch program across the U.S. in more than 15 years.

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