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USDA Responds to School Lunch Concerns

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Students have had their first taste of the new school lunch guidelines. While some are digesting the changes just fine, others are finding them tough to swallow.

"Everyone is going to say something about it," student Lyndsay Wiechman said.

Much of what they are saying has traveled back to the USDA which is working to implement the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

KAKE News asked Dr. Janey Thornton to respond to some of your concerns we've heard while reporting on the new school lunch guidelines.

"We don't think we are getting enough food," student Cole Murray told KAKE News.

But, Thornton says that's not because of the meals themselves.

"In our country, our society has lost a common-sense perspective of what a proper portion size is," Thornton said.

She says this complaint primarily comes from students at schools that don't serve breakfast. She says the lunch meals are designed for the average child, of average weight and activity.

"I used to enjoy eating here (at the cafeteria) we had french fries and cookies," student Vanessa Jobs said.

Thornton says it's not surprising that many students don't like the healthier food right away; some have never been exposed to it.

"We have had districts say our children don't like fruits and vegetables," Thornton said. "That's truly what we are trying to do is teach children half their plate should really be fruits and vegetables and they are not going to learn to like them unless they try them and eat them."

But many kids say that should be their decision, not the government's.

"I feel like they are taking away our decisions," Wiechman said.

Thornton says there are options each day for students: different healthier snacks to choose from.

"We're not telling people that they have to have spinach on Tuesday, broccoli on Friday, or a baked potato in the middle of the week," Thornton said. "What we are saying is you need a balance."

She says she knows it's hard to adjust for some schools and students, but the goal of a healthier generation is an attainable goal with this kind of program.

"It certainly is possible and it certainly is what is best for kids, and therefore, best for our country down the road," Thornton said.


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