Family

2 Lexington pools offer healthier food

Alegra Feldman fed her son Solly Corkran, 3, a bite of a chicken salad sandwich Friday at the Woodland Aquatic Center in Lexington. The sandwich is part of a revamped menu, called Better Bites, at Lexington aquatic center concession stands. The menu includes a variety of fruit choices and grilled chicken.
Alegra Feldman fed her son Solly Corkran, 3, a bite of a chicken salad sandwich Friday at the Woodland Aquatic Center in Lexington. The sandwich is part of a revamped menu, called Better Bites, at Lexington aquatic center concession stands. The menu includes a variety of fruit choices and grilled chicken.

The concession stands at Lexington's two aquatic centers — Southland and Woodland — just got more nutritious.

Along with hot dogs, fries and soft drinks, choices include a grilled chicken sandwich, apples, bananas, and fresh strawberries and yogurt.

The menu change — which is new this summer — is part of a joint effort by Parks and Recreation and the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.

The new healthier menu is called Better Bites and is getting top billing at the pool concession stands.

"Concession stands are like pantries for kids in the summer. What they are stocked with is what they'll eat," said Anita Courtney, chairwoman of the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition in Lexington.

The goal of the coalition, which was organized in 2003, is to make healthful food and activity popular and accessible for tweens — children 9 to 13 years old.

Kentucky has the third-highest rate of obesity in the country, she said, and she's "just thrilled" with the new menu.

Parents who were at the Woodland pool Friday said they are pleased, too.

Alegra Feldman ordered a chicken salad sandwich and bottled water for her two sons, Solly Corkran, 3, and Clint Corkran, 5.

"I think it's great. I really like the fruit and new sandwich options," she said. "We used to pack our own grapes and stuff, so now it's just more convenient." Clint said he wished there were oranges on the menu.

Travis Porter ordered grapes and a banana for daughter Grace Ella, 4. "Well, we don't want her eating junk food all the time, so it's a great thing. I didn't even know they offered it until today," Travis Porter said.

The healthier menu is something the parks and recreation department has been interested in for a while, said Brian Rogers, deputy director of enterprise for Lexington's Parks and Recreation.

"And it's a work in progress," Rogers said. Strawberries might soon be replaced by clementines, because the strawberries go bad so quickly.

"We'll take a look at the sales number, see what's selling and make other changes if we need to," he said.

Ultimately, the coalition and the parks department would like to expand the healthier menu options and offer it at more venues, possibly at the Athens Ballfield Complex or at Jacobson Park during Free Friday Flicks.

In the meantime, another new offering, "Veggin' Out at the Pools," will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 8 at the Southland Pool, 625 Hill-n-Dale Road. The dinner will feature local foods from Lexington Farmers Market that will be prepared by Good Foods Market & Café chefs.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Each ticket includes the meal and admission to the pool after 5 p.m. For more information, go to Lexingtonfarmersmarket.com or Goodfood.coop

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