Rethink school lunches

First lady's program is unappetizing to students and school systems

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Michelle Obama wants the nation’s public school kids to eat healthier.

The kids want to eat what tastes good.

The schools want to stop spending so much on lunches that wind up in the cafeteria trash can.

Can they all get what they want? We think so, but it will require Washington to do some homework over the summer. The government needs to drop the heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all approach imposed on school systems through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The first lady’s well-intentioned changes to the National School Lunch Program have done largely what early critics predicted they would do: increase costs, create administrative hassles and waste food.

Though we applaud her efforts to reduce kids’ sugar, sodium and fat intake, schools shouldn’t have to go through gymnast-like contortions to do it.

A recent General Accounting Office report shows two-thirds of states surveyed said implementation during the 2012-13 school year was a “very great challenge” or an “extreme challenge.”

The problem, as evidenced by the GAO probe, is the new standards are inflexible and overly confining, and impose very specific quotas on the type and amount of food served.

Just look at the vegetable rules, which require cafeterias to feature five “vegetable subgroups” across “dark green, red/orange, beans/peas (legumes), starchy and ‘other’ vegetables.”

And that’s just a snippet of the federal mandate’s 1,800 pages of “guidance.”

Leave it to Washington to complicate something as simple as school lunch.

Some schools have decided to opt out of the $12 billion federally-subsidized program entirely. Enrollment has dropped for the first time in 30 years, with about 1.2 million students, or 3.7 percent, dropping out of the program since the new standards went into force.

Not all of the rejection can be attributed to menu changes, though media nationwide have reported student boycotts, lunch strikes and garbage cans full of uneaten fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Some schools say they are having trouble sourcing products that meet the new requirements. Others have made dubious menu changes, such as adding pudding and potato chips to conform to minimum calorie requirements, or removing popular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to avoid exceeding quotas for grains.

Then there are cultural and regional differences that bureaucrats failed to consider, such as Southern children wanting their chicken fried, and Southwestern children not wanting to switch from the white-flour tortillas they grew up with to whole-wheat ones.

Such is the case when central planning’s cuisine committee decides it knows best.

Yes, kids have been scraping uneaten food from their trays long before the new standards took effect. But at least food waste wasn’t compounded by increased costs and regulatory hassles.

The cafeteria quandary should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone wanting the federal government to play a more active role in local schools. Do you want these people anywhere near the classroom?

Just wait until September, when rules take effect on food served outside the cafeteria, such as vending machines and bake sales.

The first lady, upset that her best-laid plans have turned into a food fiasco, recently lashed out at a Republican measure that would allow beleaguered schools running a meal-program deficit some relief in the form of a temporary exemption.

She assailed the exemption as “a bill to override science” in her recent New York Times op-ed piece, “The Campaign for Junk Food.”

“This is unacceptable,” she said at the White House gathering of school nutritionists. “It’s unacceptable to me not just as first lady, but also as a mother.”

We agree with her goals, but not her rhetoric. It might be
constructive to dial it down.

First, Republicans are not questioning the “science” behind the rules, that eating vegetables are good for you and consuming too many calories can lead to obesity and diabetes. We think they get it.

Second, the first lady should remember it was bipartisan support for her cause that helped the legislation pass in 2010. Finally, the GOP has not called for a repeal of the rules – even though it easily could.

We might also suggest the first lady turn down the volume on the “as a mother” sanctimony. Her children, as private-school students, don’t have to dine on the federally mandated menu served to 31 million American children. And any exemption approved when the law is reauthorized next year would have no impact on them.

Instead of dropping incendiaries on conservatives, the White House might want to explore ways to make the menus more flexible without compromising nutrition.

It’s as if there’s no middle ground on this issue. Can’t adjustments be made so children in New Mexico get their flour tortillas and kids in Tennessee get their flaky biscuits? And does the PB&J have to be banned outright?

“Healthy” and “tasty” are not mutually exclusive terms.

Something else that obviously is lacking in the national dialogue is the most important component: parents. After all, who is more responsible for the nourishment of a child – the
parents or the state?

If more of Washington’s policies promoted self-reliance and responsibility instead of nanny statism, we might not be so concerned about counting calories in school cafeterias.

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deestafford
28585
Points
deestafford 06/09/14 - 12:43 am
16
9
The woman has no background in nutrition and her...

The woman has no background in nutrition and her meddling as an unelected person costs us tens of millions of dollars annually in just the food lunch program alone.

She, like her husband, are nothing but nuveau elitist who want every action of our lives to be governed by the centralized behemoth in Washington, DC.

The menu at her children's private school, Sidwell Friends, is prepared by an executive chef with numerous sous chefs and reads like one found in a fine restaurant not like the third world servings forced on the public schools. A program so ludicrous that a boiled egg cannot be served because it supposedly has too much fat.

As with most elitist who grab power she is a hypocrite who believes she know what's best for the peons but what is best for her own brood is something completely different.

corgimom
33859
Points
corgimom 06/09/14 - 05:35 am
7
15
As I've stated on here

As I've stated on here before, at my granddaughters' school, the kids get a hot entrée and then they have a beautiful salad bar. No chips, no juice, no ice cream, no dessert. Raw vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, jicama, carrots, lettuce- great stuff. Pears, peaches, bananas, strawberries, blueberries. And the kids want seconds.

And all the kids very happily eat the vegetables and fruit, because they are hungry, and that's all there is to eat.

And no, it most certainly isn't "third world servings", Dee Stafford, quit believing all your nutcase blogs.

So it most certainly CAN be done, and done well.

Back in the days when parents actually parented children, children were given food, and their choice was eat it or go hungry. There wasn't this absurd idea that adults were supposed to cater to children's whims and demands. Children are growing, they need healthy food to nourish their bodies, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

The real problem with school lunches is that they serve the same amount of food to a kindergartener that they do to a 5th grader, and that's where the waste comes in.

I eat at a school cafeteria several days a week. The food is very good, and much better than what we had as children. It's not as good as my granddaughters' school, but it's still pretty good.

Dee Stafford, when was the last time you ate at a school cafeteria?

peace4784
124
Points
peace4784 06/09/14 - 06:09 am
0
0
Leave American kids alone.
Unpublished

Leave American kids alone. How about rethinking sending billions of taxpayer dollars to non taxpaying Jews in Israel.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/09/14 - 06:25 am
19
5
"And no, it most certainly
Unpublished

"And no, it most certainly isn't "third world servings", Dee Stafford, quit believing all your nutcase blogs."

Why is it when someone disagrees with you, you always claim, with no foundation, that they get their information from "nutcase blogs?"

Bodhisattva
6464
Points
Bodhisattva 06/09/14 - 06:37 am
4
17
Eat garbage, no healthcare, die early, the GOP final solution.
Unpublished

Everyone should be responsible for the portion of the road or highway in front of the home for business as well. We can't have these "moochers" get used to all of us providing easy access to their places of business of homes. Or how about government loans of tax dollars being used to build a private business. MY GOD PEOPLE! WHAT IS THIS COMMUNISM? How dare any business take a dime of public money? That's not what taxes are for. What kind of example does that set for our children? It's for the businessman to raise his own money to build his businesses. That allows winners and losers to be picked by the government, or at least those that own the politicians who sit in government and vote for businesses to get millions of taxpayers' money. Any kind of businessman who would do something like that is lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut. Just what kind of low down and dirty businessman would do something like that? I wonder? The kids. The kids. Oh, the poor kids. What kind of example has been set?

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/09/14 - 06:58 am
0
0
How can you write an article
Unpublished

How can you write an article on this and try and make it sound like the first lady is evil for wanting children to eat healthy food? Just more nit-picking and another baseless attack. I guess the chronicle is happy just giving them a pop tart and a bag of chips.

ymnbde
10010
Points
ymnbde 06/09/14 - 07:24 am
8
5
math broccoli science grapes and jellies

their brains can be filled with mush
but not their fat bellies
Michelle and Barry send their kids to private school
why not give that right to the rest of us?
are poor black kids not good enough?
racism abounds and the education gap grows...

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 07:54 am
11
2
The govt created this program

The govt created this program and has "supposedly" been feeding our children in an economic and healthy way. But we find, like the VA, they aren't. So now we are suppose to believe the govt is going to fix their problems that they created this time. That seems ridiculous on face value. You can take a horse to water but you can't make them drink-should be remembered when offering certain foods to kids. If they aren't eating healthy at home they likely won't be at school. There is your problem-more educated people eat healthier, have healthier habits and are generally healthier. Gosh.

deestafford
28585
Points
deestafford 06/09/14 - 08:04 am
13
5
Cogi, Sometimes I think you're in a liberal bubble...

Cogi, Sometimes I think you're in a liberal bubble that has no windows. I'm glad you go to eat with your grand daughter because that is a positive bond she will remember the rest of her life.

There have been numerous new stories on various networks and numerous stories on multiple internet sites with documentation of the lack of quality and quantity of school lunches. There have been numerous school districts that have given up the federal dollars used as the carrot to entice schools into this program to opt out this program.

The districts save money by not having to throw away food that was a more expensive action than losing the federal money.

It's obvious that you are an intelligent person who is caring but it just seems you have blinders on to facts which don't coincide with your view.

seenitB4
90557
Points
seenitB4 06/09/14 - 08:08 am
9
2
Bingo Bizkit!

" If they aren't eating healthy at home they likely won't be at school. There is your problem-more educated people eat healthier, have healthier habits and are generally healthier. Gosh."

Exactly...Do you remember our grandparents with their bacon-eggs-biscuits & grits....they did hard physical labor & worked it off too...I think Mrs Pres means well but as usual, the gov. over reaches in the average man's life.

Will the day ever come that we can take the Feds out of the school system? I hope so.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 08:20 am
4
0
The effect of race and

The effect of race and predictors of socioeconomic status on diet quality in the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study sample

Sarah Raffensperger, MS, Marie Fanelli Kuczmarski, PhD, RD, LDN, Lawrence Hotchkiss, PhD, Nancy Cotugna, DrPH, RD, LDN, Michele K. Evans, MD, and Alan B. Zonderman, PhD

To examine effects of race and predictors of socioeconomic status (SES) on nutrient-based diet quality and their contribution to health disparities in an urban population of low SES.

Design

Data were analyzed from a sample of the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) Study participants examining effects of age, sex, race, income, poverty income ratio (PIR), education, employment, and smoking status on nutrient-based diet quality as measured by a micronutrient composite index of nutrient adequacy ratios (NAR) and a mean adequacy ratio (MAR). Regression models were used to examine associations and t-tests were used to look at racial differences.

Subjects

African American and white adults ages 30-64 residing in 12 predefined census tracts in Baltimore City, Maryland.

Results

Sex, age, education, PIR, and income were statistically significant predictors of diet quality for African Americans, while sex, education, and smoking status were statistically significant for whites. African Americans had lower MAR scores than whites (76.4 vs. 79.1). Whites had significantly higher NAR scores for thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12, vitamins A and E, magnesium, copper, zinc, and calcium, while African Americans had higher vitamin C scores.

Conclusion

Education significantly impacted diet quality in the HANDLS sample, but race cannot be discounted. Whether the racial differences in diet quality are indicative of cultural differences in food preferences, selection, preparation, and availability or disparities in socioeconomic status remains unclear.

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/09/14 - 08:23 am
11
1
@corgimom - I have read your
Unpublished

@corgimom - I have read your comments for some time and I would bet a lot of money that you are big fan of Hillary Clinton.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 08:24 am
4
1
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Feb;113(2):297-306. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Nov 15.
Diet quality of Americans differs by age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, and education level.
Hiza HA1, Casavale KO, Guenther PM, Davis CA.
Author information

Abstract
An index that assesses the multidimensional components of the diet across the lifecycle is useful in describing diet quality. The purpose of this study was to use the Healthy Eating Index-2005, a measure of diet quality in terms of conformance to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to describe the diet quality of Americans by varying sociodemographic characteristics in order to provide insight as to where diets need to improve. The Healthy Eating Index-2005 scores were estimated using 1 day of dietary intake data provided by participants in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Mean daily intakes of foods and nutrients, expressed per 1,000 kilocalories, were estimated using the population ratio method and compared with standards that reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Participants included 3,286 children (2 to 17 years), 3,690 young and middle-aged adults (18 to 64 years), and 1,296 older adults (65+ years). Results are reported as percentages of maximum scores and tested for significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) by age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, and education levels. Children and older adults had better-quality diets than younger and middle-aged adults; women had better-quality diets than men; Hispanics had better-quality diets than blacks and whites; and diet quality of adults, but not children, generally improved with income level, except for sodium. The diets of Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, are far from optimal. Problematic dietary patterns were found among all sociodemographic groups. Major improvements in the nutritional health of the American public can be made by improving eating patterns.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 08:33 am
5
1
Now science tell us to change

Now science tell us to change our diet, but hey wait a minute isn't that what got us all in this trouble-the move from fat as bad and then replacement with sugar in our diets? Now science says fats aren't so bad.

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 06/09/14 - 08:32 am
9
2
School lunches/Deestafford

I rather see a child eat a boiled egg than go hungry. The meal my not be as nutritious as what "she who thinks she is the queen of nutrition" says we must have but at least it is food. Growing up in the 50-60's we ate what was put before us. I eat the same foods today. I am in my 60's and when I was in the hospital earlier this year with double pneumonia the doctor said that my overall health is what saved me from succumbing to pneumonia. I eat bacon, eggs, fried chicken, red meat but yes plenty of veggies. So Michelle can bite me. My grandma taught me how to eat and I have done the same for my boys. BTW the food they eat is not the health problem, it is lack of excercise. What happened to the 30 minute recess in the morning, where everyone played hard then a short one later in the day, then you walked or rode your bike home up to two miles. The rule I used raising my boys was come home, have a snack, go play till supper time, outside that is, the get your bath, eat, do your homework and then you could zone out on video games or computers.

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/09/14 - 08:41 am
5
4
"BTW the food they eat is not
Unpublished

"BTW the food they eat is not the health problem, it is lack of excercise. "
@Airman - you are spot on. The liberals did away with the gyn classes.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 08:50 am
6
1
The egg is one of the more

The egg is one of the more perfect foods-the cholesterol is not a big deal-mainly because only 20% comes from diet-your liver synthesizes most of it in your body.

dichotomy
34304
Points
dichotomy 06/09/14 - 09:01 am
16
6
"Eat garbage, no healthcare,

"Eat garbage, no healthcare, die early, the GOP final solution."

No....The GOP philosophy is "Eat what you want, pay for your own healthcare, and die happy and with some self-respect that your paid your own way and were free to eat what your wanted".

The Democrat philosophy is "Eat what the government tells you, use government provided healthcare, and die still in bondage and dependenct on the government".

The fact of the matter is that the kids are doing to Michelle's school lunch program what we should be doing to Obama's programs........they are flipping her the bird and throwing the crap in the garbage can. Just like Obama's programs, Michelle's school lunch program is unaffordable, doesn't work, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

RMSHEFF
16606
Points
RMSHEFF 06/09/14 - 09:53 am
7
3
Get the BIG picture.

The bottom line is: should the federal government be able to force American citizens to eat/drink what they say, drive what they want them to drive, live in the house they say they can live in, go to the doctor they tell you to go to, receive the treatment they say you can have, go to the school they tell you to go to, etc. I have no problem with the federal government informing me of facts but I must be the one to make the decision for myself and my family. This is none of the governments business. Please don't try and tell me the progressive liberals would not LOVE to dictate every aspect of my life, after all they are smarter and make better decisions !

justthefacts
22674
Points
justthefacts 06/09/14 - 10:09 am
7
0
dich

On target as usual.

Darby
26830
Points
Darby 06/09/14 - 11:02 am
9
0
"The kids. Oh, the poor kids. What kind of

example has been set?"

.
Bod, as do all liberals, believes that simply by acquiring power, you acquire intelligence.

No, Bod, simply by moving into the White House and unpacking your suitcase does not imbue one with an omniscience HE or SHE never had before. If you were a dense, dogmatic megalomaniac before, then you are STILL a dense, dogmatic megalomaniac.

.
And as for, "Or how about government loans of tax dollars being used to build a private business." .....

....I'd respond by saying that it's a hellava lot better than giving billion$ away to buy votes. Still, it's money taken from hardworking taxpayers who will never see a dime of it come back to them. And you said yourself, LOANS.

Loans are by definition PAID BACK!

Darby
26830
Points
Darby 06/09/14 - 11:05 am
7
0
As for the First (lunchroom) Lady.....

Remember Charlie the Tuna and the advice he was given and then paraphrase.....

Kids don't want a menu that has good taste, kids want a menu that TASTES GOOD!

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/09/14 - 11:10 am
9
3
So Bodhistechfan. You have a
Unpublished

So Bodhistechfan. You have a problem with a successful company getting a loan from the government that they have to pay back. Do you have a problem with Solyndra getting a grant that we will never see again?

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 11:23 am
5
1
You can't "reason" with an

You can't "reason" with an ideologue-really the epitome of "conservative" in their resistance to any change of what they have "settled" on-just their agenda and blind to anything else such as being receptive to new info or studies. Really sad such a loss of critical thinking skills and blindness to other opinions or things that other people may enjoy. It's their way or the highway-really also egocentric egomania. It's a weakness.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 11:29 am
8
0
Did you note the recent

Did you note the recent report of a dramatic increase in emergency room usage for non-emergency medicine in several large medical centers across the nation as an unexpected product of the ACA-which it was suppose to do the opposite?????? Don't trust govt with too much-we need to put them back in place as servants to us-rather than the trend of us being subjects of them.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 06/09/14 - 11:38 am
7
0
Before this is over...

Before this is over we'll have no knock warrants if it's suspected your family is eating fried chicken.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 06/09/14 - 12:04 pm
5
0
Well don't worry all the food

Well don't worry all the food will be healthy food choices from China with no regulation of use of pesticides and other protections that we have here and feeding our children tainted food that will likely be linked to cancer in this population in studies twenty years from now.

RMSHEFF
16606
Points
RMSHEFF 06/09/14 - 12:11 pm
5
0
BIZKIT

You cannot evaluate or judge any government projection or government program based on outcome or actual effect. It can only be judged on "intent". If the intent was good thats all that matters. If any Federal anti poverty program were judged on results or outcome they would be judged a failure.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/09/14 - 12:29 pm
6
3
What person in their right
Unpublished

What person in their right mind would think it is the job of the Government to decide what their children eat?

RMSHEFF
16606
Points
RMSHEFF 06/09/14 - 01:08 pm
4
1
Pond Life

What person in their right mind would think it is the job of the Government to decide what their children eat?

Almost all Democrats ! Oh! you did say "right mind"

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