Following new federal guidelines, school districts nationwide have retooled their menus to meet new requirements to serve more whole grains, only low-fat or nonfat milk, daily helpings of both fruits and vegetables, and fewer sugary and salty items. And for the first time, federal funds for school lunches mandate age-aligned calorie maximums. The adjustments are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 touted by Michelle Obama and use the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.If Michelle Obama has her way, that's not likely to happen anytime soon...
The changes are hard to swallow for students like Blohm. On Monday, 70% of the 830 Mukwonago High students who normally buy lunch boycotted cafeteria food to protest what they see as an unfair "one size fits all thing." Middle schoolers in the district also boycotted their school lunches, with counts down nearly half Monday. They're not alone in their frustration; schools across the country are reporting students who are unhappy with the lunch offerings.
Pam Harris, the district food service supervisor and a registered dietitian, said children's weight and poor nutrition in America are serious problems, but the changes are too abrupt.
"I could not be more passionate about this," Harris said. "I want to solve this problem. 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."
"Our issue is pretty much kids just don't want to eat vegetables," she said. "The USDA wants to solve the problem of childhood obesity. Those are two kind of separate issues."
Harris spoke at all lunch periods Friday to explain the federal dietary changes and had students fill out comment cards explaining what they do and don't like about the new menu. She plans to send those and parent letters to the USDA in hopes the department will allow districts including Mukwonago to gradually introduce their menu over a few years.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Now this is a protest movement that I hope spreads: