Anyone with a child in public school over the last decade knows the pain their children have endured with the subpar lunch schedule. Most schools just couldn’t afford to meet the Obama’s ridiculously expensive criteria and were forced to cut corners and serve way less food than parents expected.
Michelle Obama used her platform to encourage children and schools to exercise and to change their diets. Her husband’s administration put in place certain standards for local school districts such as reduced sodium, fat-free chocolate milk, and whole grain only requirements for breaded items such as pizza, grilled cheeses, and pasta.
Some counties and districts were able to meet these standards and provide decent lunches. But this created numerous problems for schools who were unable to meet such standards, and as what happens with all centralized planning, instead opted for unique and paltry measures to reach these metrics.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. school lunch program is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas and other foods made mostly of refined grains.
The Trump administration is scaling back contested school lunch standards implemented under the Obama administration including one that required only whole grains be served. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday only half the grains served will need to be whole grains, a change it said will do away with the current bureaucracy of requiring schools to obtain special waivers to serve select refined grains foods.
Low-fat chocolate milk will also be allowed again. Previously, only fat-free milk could be flavored, although that rule had also been temporarily waived. A final goal for limiting sodium will be scrapped as well, but schools will still be required to meet reduced sodium targets.
Which may sound like nothing to us adults, but to the lunch-room0-fed children at today’s schools, fat-free chocolate milk is a BIG deal. Just take a look at what their lunches have looked like in some areas:
— Betsy Ettinger (@BetsyEttinger) April 19, 2016
And that was before the ban on fat-free chocolate milk. It only got worse as time went on and schools were unable to purchase the basics…
— camryn ⓥ (@camrynltfb) December 2, 2015
Health groups, meanwhile, claim the standards are working and that 99 percent of schools are in compliance.
“Improving children’s health should be a top priority for the USDA, and serving more nutritious foods in schools is a clear-cut way to accomplish this goal,” the American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement Friday ahead of USDA’s action.
However, “Brandon Lipps, deputy undersecretary for the USDA’s food and nutrition division, said that at some schools that only serve whole grain foods, some is wasted if students won’t eat it. In those cases, schools might now consider other options,” according to Lipps, Town Hall pointed out.
Which makes sense. What’s the point if kids won’t eat what you put on their plate? Especially for schools who can’t afford it.