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Time to eat: Former NFL star Jared Veldheer is now serving up lunch at Grand Rapids Catholic School

The Forest Hills Northern Alum took the job shortly after retiring this past spring.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — The kids at Saint Paul the Apostle couldn't help but notice some major changes when they lined up for lunch back on the first day of school.

"They are seeing things on the menu like beef bulgogi and tikka masala," says principle Michelle Morrow.

Okay, but that wasn't the biggest thing. 

"I was confused because our lunch lady turned into a six-foot tall guy who used to play in the NFL," says 7th grader Taylor Wisinski.

Their eyes weren’t deceiving them. That really was the recently retired 11-year offensive tackle Jared Veldheer serving food behind the counter. The big question everyone had was, why?

"I was looking for something to do time wise and with the vacancy here, I figured I’d give it a go," Veldheer said. 

Seeing how he gets to be in the same school that his own kids attend, the job had some perks but at $15 an hour, most of them are a far cry from the millions he made playing football. Still the Forest Hills Northern alum says there are some similarities. 

"You know you have your day to day goals," he explains. 

Except now game day is every week day and it all starts at a quarter to 8 each morning. 

"We start prepping. Go through the prep process. First group starts at 11," Veldheer says.  

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To feed 250 kids the right way, the 34-year-old knew he had to change the old school kitchen playbook.  

"We are able to kind of break the traditional route of school food that looks like just a hunk of frozen corn and a big old rectangular piece of pizza."

That was no easy task for a rookie on the job. Fortunately, he’s had a passion for cooking ever since his playing days. 

"They're in a growth state right now where they need to consume a lot of food, a lot of calories, a lot of good quality calories," he explains. 

It's nutritious but it's also delicious and to his young customers, Veldheer knows that is what matters most. 

"Every once in a while, you’ll get a kid who comes through the line who says, did you really play in the NFL?" Veldheer said. "I think they care more about good food."

The official replay confirms it.

"I don't know where he comes up with this stuff but its amazing." says Wisinski.

Guess it's time for seconds.

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