Michelle Obama’s new mandated school lunch program, which is chock full of skimpy meals featuring unusual foods such as hummus and black bean salads, is leaving children’s stomachs empty and trash cans full of nutritious foods.
Townhall.com is reporting that the new lunch program, which has been mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is aimed at slimming students down and making sure they don’t consume too many empty calories during the day. Items such as black bean salads and hummus just aren’t attractive to elementary school children who are opting not to eat it and then go through the day hungry.
In response to a rising number of complaints, USDA Deputy Undersecretary Janey Thornton blamed it on the children
“One thing I think we need to keep in mind as kids say they’re still hungry is that many children aren’t used to eating fruits and vegetables at home, much less at school. So it’s a change in what they are eating. If they are still hungry, it’s that they are not eating all the food that’s being offered,” Thornton says.
But that doesn’t solve the problem of hungry kids in school. The government is trying to impose a new diet that children are not accustomed to, which results in many opting to go without food.
As a result, students are taking their own action. As Townhall reports, students in New Bedford, Massachusetts have created a black market for more desirable foods – such as chocolate syrup – which the children are smuggling into the school and selling by the squeeze.
Last week South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem visited students in Pierre, South Dakota in response to what she says is a rash of complaints from around the state about the new school lunch program.
“I know a lot of my friends who are just drinking a jug of milk for their lunch. And they are not getting a proper meal,” middle school student Samantha Gortmaker told her.
The evidence is in the trash can, which is full of the fruits and veggies students are given that they choose not to eat. Not that it’s wrong to serve these items, but when they’re the only thing on the menu, rather than being introduced in a gradual way, all of these good foods just end up feeding the local trash dump.
Darrel Davis, who heads the school lunch program in Pierre, told Keloland.com that the problem is in the program’s lack of flexibility.
“When they’re running cross country and burning 3,000 calories a day, they need more energy. They need more fuel,” Darrel Davis said.
The mandated one-size-fits-all menu just doesn’t work.
Noem agrees. “With all these new requirements that are coming, the goals are great. We just really need the flexibility to really make them work,” she said.
Last week, students at Mukwonago (Wisconsin) High School became so fed up with the new menu they decided to boycott the cafeteria. Over 70 percent of the students participated.
“A freshman girl who weights 100 pounds can eat this lunch and feel completely full, maybe even a little bloated,” Joey Bougneit, a Mukwonago senior, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
But not all students weigh 100 pounds.
Clay Iverson, the school’s varsity football coach, said he’s concerned about hungry kids who will run home and binge on all sorts of unhealthy foods, undoing any benefits of the lighter lunch.
Pam Harris, the school district’s food service supervisor and a registered dietician, agreed that student diets at home have a greater impact than what they eat at school.
“I want to solve the problem,” Harris told the Journal Sentinel. “But limiting calories in school lunch is not going to help the overweight kid. What happens at home is a major piece of that puzzle.”
EAGNews.org reporter Steve Gunn suggests that instead of serving skimpy lunches at school, Mrs. Obama and the government should focus on encouraging more physical activity for children who are otherwise sitting at home playing video games and snacking on potato chips and soda.
“You can’t starve kids into fitness, Mrs. Obama,” Gunn writes. “If you persist in that approach, they are simply going to bring super fat lunches from home and ignore your healthy choices menu in the school lunchroom.”
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