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      School district promotes healthy summer eating for schoolchildren

      For many kids, summer is the time to relax, have fun and play.

      McAllen ISD wants to make sure students continue to eat healthy, so their minds and bodies are alert and ready when the time for school rolls around.

      Every school day McAllen ISD serves about 21,000 plates of food.

      Students receive at least one meal that is healthy and meets federal USDA requirements.

      While the kids may not be in the classroom during the summer time, the district wants to ensure children keep a balanced diet.

      "Summer is the time that we sleep a lot we start eating more unhealthy, so we need to carry these over in the summer and have nutritional meals as well, McAllen ISD dietician Mayra Lopez said.

      Over the past 15 years, the district TMs summer meal program has grown to feed up to 4,000 students per day.

      This year, the program will be available at 43 locations.

      "We've changed the stigma. We TMve brought the meals to where the kids are, which are swimming pools, parks and rec, gyms, community centers and boys and girls clubs," McAllen ISD Food Nutrition Director Carmen Ocanas-Lerma said.

      Whether it is a meal or a snack, they want to inform parents about making healthy food choices for their children.

      "At home we encourage healthy foods, a lot of fruit, and try to avoid the packaged high sodium chips and soft drinks, Lopez said.

      Nutritionists say healthy living starts at home.

      The meals are paid by federal USDA funds and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

      CLICK HERE for a list of the summer meal locations.