America's students have testified: New school lunch standards are wreaking havoc on the nation's schools.
Across the country, students are blaming Michelle Obama and others for their "nasty" school lunches. Students want back their tater tots and greasy pizza. They have been replaced with salad bars and low fat milk, and kids are not happy, writes Arit John for The Wire.
Schools and districts are bearing the brunt of this new regime. The new foods tend to be expensive and do not sell well with students. Schools are worried about a decrease in sales in their cafeterias because of healthier lunches and snack options, reports John.
Even the vending machines are now required to have only healthy snack options. Many cafeterias rely on vending machine sales to supplement their income. Many students are now leaving the school lunch program and bringing their lunches and snacks from home, which decreases the school's food sales.
Schools are now required to make sure their carbohydrates like pasta, pizza, and bread contain at least 50% whole grains. They are also required to provide no-fat or low fat milk, a protein, and a fruit or vegetable, says John. Students may turn down two of the five options, but must take a fruit or vegetable.
Many of the new healthier options, mainly fruits and vegetables, end up in the trash. Many of the students and schools call this a waste of money. If the students will not eat the food, the new healthier menu do not benefit anyone.
Some affirm that Michelle Obama, though an advocate for the new healthy student lunch program, is not at fault for the new meals. John reports one advocate as saying:
First, it's worth noting that some kids like Justice don't eat the healthy part of the healthy school lunches. Second, as child nutrition advocate Ann Cooper told The Wire, "Michelle Obama has absolutely nothing to do with the national school lunch program." Cooper, aka the Renegade Lunch Lady, is a trained chef and the director of nutrition for the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado. "She's certainly a cheerleader for it and she certainly has made her personal views apparent," but the Department of Agriculture is in charge of the actual regulations, Cooper said.
Why are they ending up in the trash? Students claim that the new healthier options do not taste good and are "nasty." They are used to pizza and tater tots and want their unhealthy options back, says Lacy Langley of WebProNews. Many claim to go hungry because the portion sizes are too small. Arit John writes:
Brady Justice, the Oklahoma sophomore who ordered that lunch, acknowledged that his school has a salad bar ever day, "which is nice, but I don't like salad :/," he said over DM. Justice said that while the food is a little bit healthier, "I am in athletics and every day I am hungry by the end of school."
Many schools are asking Congress and the USDA to lighten up on the new lunch rules. The School Nutrition Association is trying to get permission from Congress and USDA to only mandate that 50 percent of foods be whole grain-rich and also to stop the 2017 sodium regulations, reports Fox News.
It is also asking the USDA to stop demanding students grab a fruit or vegetable with their lunch if it's just going to end up in the trash.