Let’s Move! … Right past the lunch line and straight to the vending machines!
Implementation of the new federal guidelines for school lunches is being met with much resistance these days, mainly because the meals being prepared are tasteless and drab and – surprise! – the kids are simply tossing out their vegetables and finding other ways to eat better tasting snacks.
Of course, it’s no wonder students are ditching the federally approved lunches when their choices are something you’d expect to see Rachel Ray whip up on a talk show, as opposed to something that a child might actually find enjoyable.
According to a report in the Times Union, the Voorheesville school district became the first in New York state to abandon the federal program, and they discuss these two tasty options for their students:
Carrots. Apples. A slice of ham and a slice of cheese between two pieces of wheat bread.
That’s one lunch option. The other is a salad of mixed greens dribbled with feta and steak sliced on the side.
Oh yea, sign me up. If I’m a kid in school and the lunch lady offers me a food product that is labeled as being “dribbled with” anything, I’m making my way to the nearest exit.
According to Voorheesville Superintendent Teresa Snyder, the cost of implementing food items that nobody ends up eating is overwhelming. Snyder told the Times Union that, “the new mandate ended up blowing the school’s food budget and cost the school $30,000 in the first quarter alone, money that is hard to find in a district already strapped for money.”
She added that the half the kids dropped out of the school lunch program, while the rest “ended up throwing a lot of their vegetables in the trash.”
One parent explains what the students are doing instead of eating their federally mandated lunches:
Michelle Burton, who has two children in the Averill Park district, said students who don’t like any of the healthy options choose to pick out the bags of chips and Twix candy bars at the end of the lunch line. She said the bland choices offered under the new federal mandate are healthier, but sometimes drive children to unhealthy choices.
“They’ve created a whole new problem,” she said. “They went too far too quickly.”
Another school district in upstate New York announced they too would opt out of the lunch program. But for Niskayuna schools, the situation and the state of their meals is so bad, that they are willing to give up federal funding just to get their kids to eat lunch.
According to the Huffington Post:
The Niskayuna Board of Education unanimously voted to terminate participation in the program, effective April 1, after a semester-long stint has resulted in a net operating loss of nearly $70,500, Spotlightnews.com reports. The new rules, Food Service Director Suzanne Wixom tells WNYT, has resulted in more waste as students throw out more food they are forced to take but do not want to eat. The less appealing meals, district officials say, have also cut into revenue as the number of school lunch buyers have dropped by half.
Perhaps it is the kids themselves that best explain why they are rebelling against the school lunch program…