Students Complain School Lunch Is Lacking

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Kansas students are complaining that their school lunches are lacking in the foods they like, which is causing them to stay hungry after lunch.

"If they eat the full tray and all five components that are offered everyday, the kids will be full. If they choose to turn down two or three of those items, they are going to be hungry," said Marianne Fenili, food service director for Goddard Public Schools.

The new National School Lunch Program guidelines require that schools offer each student with five food components that include meat or meat alternatives, grains, vegetables, fruits, and milk.

The guidelines that went into effect on July 1, require more whole gains, fruits, vegetables, beans, low-fat milk, and lean protein.

"Before we had fries and cookies," said Vanessa Jones, a high school senior. "We had good food and it wasn't fat free stuff. And now, everything's healthy, you can tell. You can tell a big difference."

Schools are serving less foods with trans fat, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and condiments.

"I'm paying a lot of money for not very much food and food that a lot of people don't like and I just feel like I can get better quality somewhere else," said Matthew Morris, high school junior.

At Eisenhower High School in Goddard, a meal that included a buffalo chicken wrap, sweet potato tots, cucumber slices, cantaloupe wedges, and milk cost a high school student $2.70. That same meal with smaller portions cost $2.40 and $2.55, for elementary and middle school students, respectively.

School officials say they are trying to meet federal and state guidelines while providing healthy options for students.

"First time we served cantaloupe and watermelon, there were a lot of kids that didn't have any idea what those were," said Fenili. "We're just trying to introduce and incorporate some of these things so that kids have a better idea of good options."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is the first major change in the school lunch menu in over 15 years. These changes affect 32 million students who eat a school lunch and 12 million who eat a school breakfast each school day.

For more information on the changes, click here.

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