Published: May 17, 2011 7:58 PM EDT
Updated: May 17, 2011 7:16 PM EDT

Some Lee co. public school students learned about healthy foods, as the state agriculture department prepares to take over menus, perhaps as soon as this August.

"We want to show the kids that healthy eating and food preparation can be fun," said Chef Justin Timineri of the Fl. Agriculture Dept.

He came to Heights Elementary in S. Ft. Myers to talk with students, as part of the Healthy Living Laboratory.   Timineri says the ag department is excited about taking over the menus.   It wants to emphasize more Florida-grown vegetables and fruits, in providing the protein and vitamins for school kids.   "We see ways to increase the tomatoes and the fruits, and cut back a bit perhaps on the meats and things that might be more fatty," said Timineri.   Standards indicate that students should get 1/3 of the daily allowance of protein and vitamins A and C from lunch, as well as 1/3 of the daily allowance for calories. 

Students like Aliana Hall got the message.  "It's very interesting to learn and yes, it tastes good," she said of the fruit drinks and veggies at the workshop with Chef Timineri.

The legislature passed a bill giving the ag dept. control over public school menus.    A spokesman for the dept. says Governor Rick Scott has not yet signed the bill.    If he does, the spokesman does not expect school meals to cost more for students.  He says the  U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will still pay most of the cost of the school meal programs.