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School Lunch Reform’s Awkward Phase

Some of you may have noticed, others are oblivious, but something has likely changed with your child’s lunch. I am strictly speaking about their school lunch if they are enrolled in one of the United States’ thousands of public schools. After years of belly-aching (for good reason) and cries of revolt and reform, the National School Lunch Program is getting a bit of an overhaul.

This overhaul, which is being rolled out gradually over the next few years to the nation’s nearly 40 million students consists of more fruit, more whole grains, more vegetables, low-fat items, and various no-fat items that meet new federal guidelines for nutrition. This means less starchy foods and mystery meat and more salad and quinoa. Now everyone is happy and healthy.

Not so fast.

With transitions like these (and in no way am I implying the new system is perfect or beyond reproach) you no doubt get some backlash. Unlike the previous criticism of substandard food, which largely came from parent groups and nutritional advocates, the new criticism is coming straight from the mouths of the recipients of such changes…the students.

A recent viral YouTube video, sung to the tune of “We Are Young” by the pop group Fun., shows a lot of high school, middle school, and even grade school children suffering from the new changes – particularly suffering from hunger and malnourishment, while other students live happy, care-free lives eating junk food and store-bought snacks. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

“My friends are at the corner store/ Getting junk so they don’t waste away/ My lover ate her two grams of meat/ Just about to starve.”

And below is the video:

Ok, sure it is kind of funny and clever, and not really something to get all that angry about, but is it worth consideration? Are the new federal guidelines not providing enough caloric nourishment and protein to hungry kids, or are they just a bunch of whiners wanting their junk food quota back?

Related:
New School Lunches Are a Step in the Right Direction
School Lunches Sucks: So What Are You Going to Do About It?

Read more: Blogs, Caregiving, Children, Eating for Health, Family, Food, Healthy Schools, Parenting at the Crossroads, Videos, , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

55 comments

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3:38AM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

Thanks.

2:51AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

It's normal for people to complain.

2:36PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Kids eat what they want. If it's not served in school, they'll bring it from home.

10:25AM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

Kids eat what they want and throw away the rest. Sometimes they choose to go hungry rather than eating something they don't want.

12:17PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

My grandmother taught me many years ago, 'No one will go hungry, when their is food to eat'.
These kids have been accustomed to eating too much JUNK, obviously fed to them by their parents. When you eat junk, you want junk. If parents are unprepared to feed them, nutritionally, someone has to step up and do it for them.

If the 'nanny' state is the only avenue for healthy meals, than so be it. How will we build our nation back to a place where we can be #1 in something? Currently, we lag behind many other nations in education and other pertinent areas. Children need good nutrition in order to use their brains, functionally.

Being best friends with your kids when they are young, ends in disaster. Being a parent when they are young, will transform into being best friends, when they become adults, because they know you care.

10:07AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

I don't believe for one moment that the students are hungry.
They are not eating what they want {crave} and therefore they
THINK that they are hungry because their cravings are not satisfied.. . . . .
junk, salt, sweets etc.

2:53AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Kids turn to "junk food" because they like it and they are used to it .The more we condemn their choice the harder they will cling to it.

1:04AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Maybe junk food is somewhat addictive?

10:41PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Kids need to each more often than school allows. Remedy that.

5:22PM PDT on Oct 2, 2012

Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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