Sartell -- The school lunch program has seen many recent changes, but one local school district is ahead of the curve in improving student health. It has been one year since the Sartell - St. Stephen school district began to implement the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System.

Since then, the federal government has put standards and regulations in place, with an aim of increasing healthy lifestyles at a young age. So far the new regulations have not interfered with the NuVal system.

The Food Service Director at Sartell - St. Stephen Schools, Brenda Braulick says NuVal  is a perfect match for the new standards.

Sartell - St. Stephen schools were only the second in the nation to implement the program and the first in Minnesota to do so. The Coordinator for the BLEND Program at CentraCare Health Foundation, Jodi Gertken says the new regulations have put a pause on expanding the program to new schools.

Products are rated on a scale of 1 to 100 -- with 100 representing the healthiest choice. The Sartell model is undergoing an upgrade with new products being scored and a new campaign being designed to reach students. Gertken says they are looking for new ways to improve student's long-term health.

The system was originally designed to give consumers in grocery stores a rating system that could be used to make healthy decisions. Coborn's has implemented the system through their chain of stores. Braulick says NuVal is having an impact on what products local groceries offer.

In Sartell, the nutritional system is being used to rate all a la carte and vending machine items. Food made within the school kitchens are unable to be scored due to the combination of ingredients used.