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USDA Has Made Major Improvements to School Meals. Got a Question? #AskUSDA

Now that the school year has started, everyone is abuzz about the healthier meals being served at schools all over the country.  As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, starting this fall, school meals are featuring more whole grains, both fruits and vegetables at every meal, and less sodium and trans fat.  Portion sizes are adjusted for age, among other improvements.

As a result, you may have questions like:

What kinds of new foods will my child’s school offer?

What prompted the changes?

What can I do to help my child eat healthier at home?

USDA is reaching out to help parents, teachers, school administrators, school food services workers and others gain a better understanding of the changes being made and how they benefit students.

To answer your questions, we’ll be hosting a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm EST. Ask our Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Dr. Janey Thornton, about our school meals programs and our work to make the school day healthier. Dr. Thornton played a key role in bringing these changes to fruition and this is a great opportunity to touch base with a national leader in school meal services.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 programs that form our nation’s nutrition safety net. School meals help prevent child hunger and introduce kids to healthy habits that last a lifetime. You can send your questions on school meals in advance to the @USDA Twitter account using hashtags #SchoolFoodsRule and #AskUSDA.

Please join us! In the meantime, please visit our Healthier School Day website

40 Responses to “USDA Has Made Major Improvements to School Meals. Got a Question? #AskUSDA”

  1. D Lee Asher says:

    Question. What was the incidence of obesity in youth say 30-40 years ago before all these “improvements to school meals”? I find the Secretary’s comment, “We all know that school is the perfect place for our kids to learn healthy eating habits…” more than a little disconcerting. The HOME, or in the FAMILY, is the PERFECT place.

  2. Karla Newton says:

    What the heck are you doing catering to the obese, and overweight and serving my child who is 17 and 150 pounds. My son is in football, he needs the calories. Serving one meal that the obese will throw the vegs, and fruits away/ they will go home to the same environment that made them obese, and innactive. You are going about this the entire wrong way, and active children are suffering. I must now send 2 meals per day with my active son to get the nutrients he needs every day to cater to the obese and in active who this current government standard has no hope of even helping. Because you are not fixing the problem of them eating poorly at home and sedetary. Think before you make stupid rules that cater to one select group. It is not your job and you are not doing a good job of this raising kids for poor people who are stupid and allow their children to be innactive and eat junk.

  3. Salley Young says:

    The USDA has limited portion sizes in nat’l school lunch to 2 ounces a day for all whole grains, and all protein to 2 ounces a day.
    Your crazy if you think limiting Whole Grains to 2 ounces a day and all protein to 2 ounces a day is making a healthier school lunch. Give us back our whole grains and meat!!
    Salley Young Food Service Manager
    in Montana

  4. David Brown says:

    I note that school meals will have less trans-fat. Why no mention of restricting saturated fat? Is the USDA finally realizing that saturated fats are not a health hazard?

  5. Angie says:

    How do you expect an active growing child to survive within these guidelines? My children are starving during the day. As a working parent, is it really too much to expect to be able to pay for a nutritious edible meal at school? Would you seriously follow these guidelines yourselves? Why are you making all children suffer because a portion need to loose weight? I can guarantee you, no one is becoming obese from school lunches. If there is an obesity problem it comes from all the junk that is consumed in the evening and on the weekend. I am at a healthy weight and 40 years old. I exercise and could eat last years school lunches daily and not have to be concerned about gaining weight. Additionally, I have read several articles about how these new guidelines could be detrimental to a growing body. Please,stop making the kids suffer.

  6. Wendy says:

    My kiddo never got enough to eat during the school day before the menu change because the school trays were always wet (from being washed) and it made the food soggy. Now he doesn’t eat anything because he doesn’t like anything offered so he goes without during the day. He is already skinny as a rail. I’m packing his lunch from now on so I know he isn’t starving throughout the day. My husband and I remember growing up with the best school lunches in the 70s. Government should stop trying to be the food police. This entire movement is a waste of taxpayer money.

  7. Kelly Booth says:

    If food portions are adjusted for age, what about the different sizes(weight and height) of each age group? This is particularly an issue at the high school level where size and weight can vary from 1 foot to 100 lbs. How do you determine what a 16 year old 6’4″ 210 lb football player eats and a 16 year old 5’2″ 110 lb debate team competitor eats? They have extremely different metabolism needs and calorie intake requirements.

  8. Deborah Osbourn says:

    Why is milk not considered a protein for the school lunch menu?

  9. Kristi Kern says:

    My primary question is what is the scientific basis for the severe limitations on protein in the school lunch program? While I applaud the effort to promote healthy eating by making changes to increase variety and availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; as well as, limit sodium, I do have significant concerns about the lack of protein and even the caloric limitations. I feel that the good intentions of trying to address a rising obesity issue has blinded the people formulating these changes to the realistic nutrient requirements that school-aged children need for cognitive learning and physical growth. My main concern is the lack of protein. Higher protein diets have been shown to curb hunger since it takes longer for digestion. Protein sources are an excellent source of nutrients like iron and other vitamins and minerals. As a mother with an 8 year-old son with Autism, I am concerned if he is getting enough to eat to help him focus and facilitate learning in the afternoons at school. When I question him about what he chooses to eat each day, it is very little compared to what he used to eat. This is mainly because bread is not offered every day and some of the main entrees he liked are gone because of the protein and caloric limitations. With these current changes, I forsee that there will be an increse in behavior problems and a general lack of focus in schools across the US during the afternoon hours. I have visited with many parents and read many stories from people who’s kids are directly affected by these changes. Overwhelmingly, the comments usually are about how hungry the kids are after school, how they have headaches and growling stomachs, how they don’t have enough energy to perform at sport practices, they are grumpy and tired, etc. On the days I am able to be home when the kids get off the bus, I make sure my kids eat a larger healthy snack to tide them over until supper. But what about the kids that don’t have access to healthy snacks at home? I know I’m not the only one that potentially sees that kids who are increasingly hungry after school might just fill up with more convenient, unhealthy snacks and high-calorie drinks. This will just become a vicious cycle contributing to, not helping, the obesity issue. Hunger also raises another issue. There has been increased awareness about domestic hunger here in the US. Another concern of parents and teachers I have visited with is the fact that a lot of lower income households depend on the school breakfast/lunch program as their main meals for the day. How is hunger being addressed by the current changes? My opinion is that the protein requirements and caloric limitations need to be readdressed. School-aged kids need fuel for cognitive learning and growing. This particular ‘one-size fits all’ type of school lunch is creating more problems than fixing problems. Our school district is a small rural school district where most of the kids are involved with sports and other after-school activities and therefore obesity is not an issue. Maybe it is time to allow more local control in addressing health issues in the individual states and schools districts.

  10. Jeanne K says:

    The new guidelines have only contribute to the overweight or obese problem now! I am a school board trustee in our rural small school district in Montana. Our students have always had a good healthy meal for breakfast and lunch. NOW we have kids that are going hunger and going downtown to the cafe or bakery and ordering sandwichs so that they aren’t so hungry to get them through the day and sports after school.What do you have to say to the little girls in second grade that will not take all the vegetables with her choices of being carrots, broccoli, cauiflower or cherry tomatoes and states I don’t like any of them so the cooks say well you will need to take extra fruit then. The fruit is applesauce for the day and she doesn’t like that choice. The cook does inform her that she needs to choose a vegetable or a fruit before she leaves the lunch line. The second grader resopne is put what ever you want to put on the plate I will just throw it away. So she got a chicken leg for the day and cannot return for second helping because you are only allowed 2oz. of protein. How is this little girls going to learn the rest of the day when her belly is empty?? Many schools in the bigger city may have trouble with obesity and get to choose hambugers, pizza etc. from their caferia. This is not the case in some rural schools in Montana. If all this being said the program is going to cost the tax payer millions. It states in the final rule just how much this program is costing the goverment. Yes the school gets 6 cents remibursment if they follow the guidelines for each qualifying meal but it cost 5 cents for the impprovemnts of the new meal program. One size doesn’t fit all and the last I new it is the parents that should make sure the kids are getting a heatly meal. It is not the school or the goverment’s job. We now have kids hunger when they go home eating chips, candy, pop or what ever they can find fast to fill their void. Doesn’t sound healthy to me.
    Trustee in Montana

  11. Shayla says:

    I have 2 boys and 2 girls. My question is how do you expect not only my 4 but other children to learn when they don’t have enough fuel to get through the day? My kids eat breakfast before they go to school(a bowl of cereal) & eat breakfast there they’re full until lunch. When lunch comes around they eat everything and still STRAVING! By the time they come home they’re dragging because they’re HUNGRY! Not enough FUEL!
    A teacher from the school said this is the best diet she’s ever seen!!! So to me what your teaching our kids is to just go hungry to loose weight, however my kids are thin and very active and loosing weight daily because there’s not enough food at school! This needs to be fixed!!!!!!

  12. Regina Mayer says:

    I am a parent, a district food service director, have been in the school food service business for over 30 yrs. and I agree with each parents’ concerns. I feel badly for the cooks who cannot give in to the student’s wishes to have more food to sustain them.
    The school-made whole grain breads, which were encouraged the past couple of years, now have been so restricted it is a disgrace. I realize this is a LUNCH. It was never meant to keep a student satisfied up until their evening meal, but these guidelines have been through the congressional mill and special interest groups until they are compromised.
    My fervent wish is for parents and school administrative personnel keep making their voices heard and let this extreme change be revoked or amended before winter arrives.

  13. Linda says:

    Too many carbs. EMPTY CARBS. What meat there is, is breaded, and there is too much starch in the form of bread, potatoes, etc! My kids are slender, but man, oh man, some of their classmates are HUGE.

  14. Lynda says:

    School lunchs should be edible. The habits start at home and with the parents! What is the % of overweight kids now compared to 70′s or 80′s for before?? There are other more pressing issues to be spending time and money on. We raised 3 girls and our food choices started at home, along with the being ACTIVE and not a couch potato with video games and tv.

  15. gina says:

    I think the plan is commendable but not flawless. You have to consider size, weight etc. The plan should be more flexible regarding portions. Most important is that additives and preservatives are eliminated. Natural foods and activity are the healthy solution and would make a huge difference in the obesity rate. It is unfortunate that government is involved but the quality of food in our schools was deteriorating to a dangerous level and being fueled by cheap cuts and greed. So this is a start and a step in the right direction but this should be a living plan that constantly changes and grows to meet the needs of our kids.

  16. Zoey says:

    Why would you ever limit protein for a growing child? What is this new program trying to accomplish? If we are trying to feed our children so that they can pay attention in class limiting fat and protein is not the answer. If we are trying to stop the obesity epidemic limiting fat and protein, especially protein, is again not the answer. If we are trying to give our children a lunch based on carbs that will be quickly broken down and leave them hungry for the rest of the day this program is the answer.

  17. Tara says:

    A simple solution to most peoples issues on this blog is to pack lunches for your children. The people who NEED school lunches for their children are the same people who struggle to buy healthy foods at home. Changing the meals to lower calorie nutritional foods is what is best. If your kid needs more, send more with him or her. Bottom line though, if you can afford to pay for school lunches then you can afford to pack a lunch for your child that you know is what you want them to eat and will be enough.

  18. Alex says:

    It is untrue that grains, whole or otherwise, are healthy foods… humans are meant to eat meats, eggs, plenty of fats, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seed, etc… real foods.
    Carbohydrates in ALL forms are sugar… even your magical whole grains are NOTHING MORE THAN sugar… this program is a recipe for disaster…. I hope all families pack food from home so their children won’t be made fat, sick and ravenous by this carbage disguised as a food plan.

  19. Crystal says:

    Hi, I live in Australia. We do not have “school lunches” here (thank god!). It is the practise of Australians to pack their kids lunches every day. WHY ARE YOU ALL COMPLAINING?? don’t leave the nutrition of your children to these horrible government corporations, FEED YOUR CHILDREN REAL FOOD (meat, eggs, vegetables). Spend time to pack lunches like families all across the world and boycott this horrible system. Do it for your kids!

  20. Nancy says:

    Let’s just face it… school lunches are not the greatest, however, with the Obama healthy lunch initiative in place… now they really stink for the kids of Derry School District, Westmoreland County, PA. They have taken lunches from one extreme to the other. Furthermore, with the amount of children eating free or reduced lunches at taxpayers expense in the District… I am quite sure there is a lot of taxpayer money going in garbage bags this week! Please understand… I am not against free/reduced lunch programs and I would NEVER deny a child a lunch, but I would like to know I have given them a lunch that is not only healthy… but, that they will eat! Furthermore… for those of us represented in the low part of the upper middle class that proudly pay our own way through life, I resent that not only is the food not that great, the kids have no choices, but NOW… that the lunch trays have lesser quantities on them it requires parents (whose kids want that hot lunch versus a packed lunch) to buy 2 or 3 lunches per day!!! Ridiculous!!!

    Scenario at our Middle School. Lunch Menu: Chicken Stick Wrap with cheese, Vegetable Cup (which consisted of 1 pc of Broccoli, 1 baby Carrot, 1 Cucumber Slice, 1 Tomato Wedge), 5 Fresh Grapes and a pint of Milk… cost to cash paying parents $2.35. According to the kids and some griping parents (my child packed yesterday)… the chicken wrap was very small (3 chicken sticks inside). Quite a few kids went for a second wrap… cost to parents an additional $ 2.00 each PLUS .05 cents per package for the condiments. Ok… now considering the healthy eating initiative is based on giving kids a healthy lunch and generalizes kids into one set of calorie guidelines without giving much care to their body structure (tall, short, thin or chunky) or activity level (my son will start running several miles a week and dek hockey next week)… I ask… was that second wrap Zero calories? OR… should bells and whistles have sounded and the purchase not be allowed by the generally healthy preteen boys due to the risk of a child overeating? OR… did this healthy eating initiative just cut the size of school lunches so that parents that pay full price for children’s lunches have to pay more out of pocket than we already do? Something to think about? Also… To my male friends I ask… as a 7th grade boy, how satisfied would you have been after that 1 lunch? AND… if the healthy eating initiative is aimed at a society of over-eaters and kids that make poor choices… Why then, is the school still giving the kids the option of purchasing chips and bottled drinks among other things at premium prices?

    Secondly… Elementary Lunch consisted of: Chicken Sticks in a bag, Celery Sticks, Grapes and Jungle Crackers, and a 1/2 pt of milk. Do you or anyone else for that matter honestly think that lunch is enough to sustain an energetic 5th grade boy through a day of school? And… when teachers tell you at back to school night…
    have students bring snacks in their back packs… we will let them eat. What does that say?? Also, I laugh because I am sure those snacks will vary in nutritional value which will also defeat the purpose of the initiative. Money well spent… huh? On a side note… from the mouth of a 5th grade boy I know and love… Mom, most of my friends ate the chicken sticks and threw the rest away! (My son had a packed lunch! I am not paying for that lunch knowing he would not eat it or be satisfied).

    From what I am gathering… Derry is different than Latrobe School District in that I am being told Latrobe kids have options for getting around this as long as they put the veggie/fruits on their plate. However, I am assuming due to budget constraints Derry does not offer any options… Derry offers 1 lunch. Take and eat it, throw it away or pack your own! They don’t care.

    Kim, please take a look at the lunch menu for this week for Derry. It is separated between elementary, Middle School and High School. The high school does not look that bad but I can’t comment on portions cause I have no one there yet. Middle School depends on the day (but according to the kids, the portions are cut substantially). The elementary school… they took the hot lunch away! Furthermore… I seriously doubt most elementary kids will eat much of the lunches… well except for the burger day! I intend to call the school… but, was waiting for next weeks menu to surface so they can’t say it was the first week of school, but I am pretty sure that isn’t the issue. Furthermore, the rumor is that many kids have already loaded money on their lunch accounts, but that as soon as they have eaten their way through their funds they will be packing. Good for them! I hope they do… but, again… what about those kids that depend on those meals. How hungry are they? I doubt there are extras for them or that packing a lunch is a viable option.

  21. mark says:

    This is awesome – keep stuffing our kids fattening “hearthealthywholegrains” while limiting real food like meat and saturated fat. Thank-God (who also doesn’t exist) the schools and government are stepping in and making sure our kids are properly nourished.

  22. Leeann says:

    I hope the government has the courage and common sense to revoke nutrition guidelines that are detrimental to the American Youth as a whole. If they are trying (in well-meaning but completely misguided way) to help a percentage of overweight students, what makes the goverment think ALL students need the same treatment? The only outcome of this initiative is wasting food that kids won’t or can’t eat.

  23. Arlice Gallagher says:

    I am a grandmother. When I was in grade school in the 1940′s and 50′s we were allowed to have seconds at no charge and even second milks if we wanted it. Whole milk thank you. And it cost about 20 cents. Today my grandchildren (except one) are home schooled and thankfully they are allowed to eat what they want and need. I’m sure this photo of the oranges and kiwi never saw the inside of a school building. I also expect that Dr. Thornton is one of those skinny 100 pounders who eats a half carton of yogurt for lunch and then runs 5 miles just in case it made her fat. Either that or she weighs 300 and doesn’t want kids to look like that. And to think that the USDA has the audacity to call this “major improvements”. Do they really think we are stupid and that our kids don’t go hungry? I’ve already heard of plenty of kids who are heading straight to McDonald’s as soon as school is over because they are starving. I wish everyone would pack a lunch in every school for about a month so that it would shut the entire system down. Probably won’t happen due to all the free lunches. But it’s fun to imagine it. This lunch program definitely is not healthy for growing boys and girls. I have a 15 year old grandson who already has a beard. Would he be satisfied with this meager lunch? I think not. It’s a terrible decision that has been made. I hope the whole program falls flat on it’s face and that those who can will pack a lunch with things their children will eat. Did the USDA ever read “Bread and Jam for Frances”?

  24. Tracey says:

    I have a 15-year-old football player son. For lunch today he had two 1/4 pound bratwursts and a bowl of homemade oxtail soup that had bone broth, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and a tiny bit of tomatoes and carrots. He also had some low carb bread with real butter and low sugar fruit preserves, and a glass of milk, 20 oz. He weighs 135 lbs. at 5’5″ tall and is all muscle, no fat on him anywhere. He eats ravenously. I’ve noticed that it’s the linemen on his team that eat the least when the team goes to Steak n’ Shake on Fridays after practice. It’s the muscular ones like my son that really eat.

    According to your guidelines, he would have likely passed out from hunger a couple of hours after he’d eaten lunch today, or during football practice. But he doesn’t go to a government school. He only eats the amount of food in the menu listed above when he’s seriously ill.

    Why in the world would you *prevent* schools from cooking fresh food on site? Why are you withholding healthy fats and protein, and pushing cheap, nutrient-bereft carbs and sugars on these kids? Yes, a lot of kids are obese, but this is *not* the way to fix it.

    These new guidelines are disastrous. And it’s the kids on the free lunch program that will suffer the most, as they likely don’t have the resources to eat an extra meal at home.

  25. Tracey says:

    Oh, and apparently it’s becoming more prevalent for schools to have “overbearing lunch monitors” (won’t say the real word people are referring to these people as) who are making kids throw away the lunches they bring from home if they violate federal guidelines. No thanks. Won’t be happening to my kids! I will educate them elsewhere.

  26. Theresa says:

    My children qualify for reduced lunches, but I have sent lunch with them for years because the quality/quantity at school is awful. My son (17) is a 6’1″ & 205lbs wrestler, and his sister is 5’2″ 110lbs softball player. They are both VERY active, yet he’s twice her size. There is no way on earth that they should be fed the same thing. There needs to be more quality protein, and less starchy empty calories and overcooked vegetables.

  27. Mindy says:

    My kids are in high school and are carrying their lunches to school because there is now nothing worth eating under these guidelines. I can provide much better, healthier choices for my kids. Why punish the healthy kids? My kids are both active in sports and need food!

  28. Vicki Link says:

    My 7th grade boy (who is rail thin to begin with) now is taking his lunch. Not only is the amount of food offered not enough to sustain him until he gets home, but he says what little there is isn’t very tasty. My 5th grade girl has always taken a lunch, so no change there. My 9th grade girl (also thin) has now stated she needs to take her lunch as well because it just isn’t enough food. My kids are not picky eaters and the two oldest always ate school lunch until now. How hard is it to give sufficient proteins, heaps of fresh local veggies, a bit of fruit and occasional bread? Yet, they are still offering chips, ice cream, and other extras at the end of the lunch line – for a hefty extra $$!!! crazy – how about not offering that crap and giving these kids enough whole foods to fill them up!! Here’s an idea, how about you appoint some real mom’s and a few good pediatricians to head up the lunch program???

  29. Greg says:

    I was told that the youth where allowed 1oz of grain per day and I am little confused because, are we not going to all whole wheat which is a grain?

  30. Greg says:

    The big conplaint I have is when they toke PE out of the school. we had to take Pe every year we where in High school.

  31. Vicki says:

    Hmm…as kids in the 70′s/early 80′s our school lunches were real food: meat, veg or fruit and whole milk. Maybe one obese kid and we only had gym twice a week. Could it be bc we had some protein and fat to stabilize our blood sugar and keep us feeling full? Kids need natural fat and protein! Meat or soy byproducts wrapped in dough are not the same. If that kid had empty calorie cereal with lowfat milk as “breakfast”, it’s a recipe for disaster. The guidelines are based on absolutely no clinical evidence: none.

  32. Becky Green says:

    I hope that these guidelines will be reaccessed. I am a school cook in a small rural school in Montana. I have limited seconds, but cannot make myself cut the portions of protein and grains. My kids have been receptive to more fruit and veggie choices, but still want the entree.
    I really agree with Kristi Kern above, she says it all. USDA please read her comment, even though it is lengthy.

  33. cathy says:

    As a food service manager…YOU are really making things difficult for our students nowadays with all your new guidelines as to how many fruits snd veggies their needing, and even as far as saying….they dont have to take the entree???
    Whst the heck

  34. cathy says:

    All your new guidelines are making us school kitchen managers dizzy.
    School lunches the way they use to be….are not making our kids overweigh…its the foods they eat WHEN THEY GET HOME.
    Wake up.
    If parents could see what is on their childs tray…and the price they pay….they would be shocked to see what foods the kidd are wasting.
    Exercise is the culprit…..all these new tech toys kids are playing these days are keeping kids from less exercise.

  35. Kirsti says:

    My second grader hasn’t complained about his school lunch yet this school year(been in school 3 weeks already). He comes home and he doesn’t seem overly hungry, which is good. Is protein really limited to 2 oz now? That seems rather low and goes against the principles of some of the better healthy weight management regimens, such as the 30/30/40 Diet or South Beach. To me it seems that a great and fun way to fight obesity in schools would be to add more recess to the curriculum, and more gym! …It’s nice to know that trans fat has been cut down (should’ve happened quite a long time ago). But why haven’t some organic requirements been added? Pesticides are toxic by design. As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including: brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, and
    skin, eye and lung irritation. It’s easy to find the top 10 or top 20 “dirtiest” foods online, that is the fruits and vegetables most heavily contaminated with pesticides, including apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, potatoes, green beans, and kale/greens (from The list varies slightly depending on what site you look at and for what year, but a lot of the same offenders are found on the top “dirtiest” foods lists. Obviously, school lunches are full of herbicide and pesticide laden GMO corn and soy (as oil or flour). I’m not even asking at this point to have that replaced, though I would gladly like to see that happen. I’m just asking that the top 10 or 20 most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables be replaced with organic versions or with something cleaner.

  36. Breann says:

    All the government is doing is giving kids less of what they really need not controlling obesity. You need protein to get you through the day so that they can stay awake in class and actually learn something. The government is being very detrimental to those who already are eating healthy. As a majority of the US population is obese I understand their wanting to regulate but they need to look at nutrition factors and not portion sizes!

  37. Susie Konen says:

    Soon you’ll be reading about or seeing advertisements about saving the starving children of the United States. Why should our kids go hungry and suffer because someone’s parents let them get obese? Whose fault is this? It’s not my kids fault, it all starts at home. Don’t you think these kids are going home after school and stuffing their faces because they’re so hungry? Sure they are.

    I was in our school cafeteria today visiting with our cook and she told me the biscuits she was serving weighed 3 oz. so she would have to cut 1oz off to make it right, what’s so right about that? And the very beloved desserts she serves are no longer because of the grain and calorie limits. I sub in the kitchen and I will have a very hard time saying “ I’m sorry honey , but that’s all I’m allowed to give you, BUT if you pay for another meal I can give you more” All CRAP!!!

    I’m also the President of our schools PTA, so ALL PTA members and parents speak up. If you read this PLEASE blog, we are the ones who can help change this and make a difference, lets fight for our kids!

  38. Kristi says:

    I realize that I am not in the majority, but I support the new guidelines. I think the implementation differs lunch room to lunch room and that, at times, the implementation could be better. When you eat by the guidelines, which are evidence based (contrary to what some people have written – they are based on MyPlate), you eat 1/2 fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables fill you up with fewer calories. Not all students are athletes, and it would be impossible for our schools to weight each child and make an individualized nutrition plan for each of them – let’s face it, we do not even have individualized education plans for all students. They must base it on the norm.

    A 13 year old girl who runs the equivalent of 3 miles per day needs approximately 2200 calories per day. She will be provided with approximately 700 of them from a school lunch – this is 1/3 of an active child’s needs. Let’s face it, not every child is active, and most do not exercise this much. Her protein needs are 4-6 1/2 oz per day — thus 2 oz of protein actually meets 1/2 to 1/3 of her recommended protein intake for the day.

    What is wrong is not school lunch – it is what we have become accustomed to eating. As a Montanan, I see many people from Montana have been active on this website, I am disappointed to see all of you complaining and not taking personal responsibility for your children. If your child is hungry, because s/he is SO active, feed them a snack after school. We know that 3 big meals are not the best way to take in the food we eat, but rather more frequent, smaller meals. Make your child’s after school snack hearty and healthy.

    Lastly, I agree with those of you who say “Let’s fight for our kids!” Yes, let’s fight for them to be healthier than our generation. Let’s fight for them to not have heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Let’s teach them that salt is not the only way to flavor our foods. Let’s teach them that fruit is amazing and that veggies are tasty too. Let’s teach them that there is more out there than just apples, bananas and oranges; that french fries are not a real vegetable and neither is ketchup! Let’s teach them that there is a healthier way to live.

    Stop complaining and start thinking of solutions — hungry children who don’t get dinner – let’s work as a community (not just the school) to feed them through our churches, our food banks and other ways. Hungry athletes – let’s give them a healthy snack before practice. Complaining children – teach them to eat new foods and to enjoy them instead of feeding into their complaints. And, worst of all, complaining adults – teach them to eat healthier too.

    Maybe we would all save some money on future healthcare.

  39. Steve says:

    To Kristi posting 9-19-12
    It is clear from your post that you do not work in food service. From the defensive tone of your post, I might guess you work for the state or USDA. Do me a favor, no matter what your job, or who you work for, go to a school in your community and have lunch every day next week with your child or a friend’s child. You might walk away with a broader more realistic view of what is really happening in school lunch across the country. And please take everyone in your office with you.
    It is apparent that you have never been on the serving line, but clearly it is time. Food Service Manager from Montana.

  40. jen says:

    I live in an upper middle class town where a majority of the students are in at least 1 intense sport, and there are 80 minute required gym classes 2-3 times a week. A growing teenage girl my daughter’s size who is in swimming and swims for two hours every day after school. She needs about 3,500 calories. While I send lunch with her, lunchboxes and backpacks are only so big. She doesn’t get to eat until 12:00, and she hasn’t eaten since 6:00 A.M, so she will be very hungry and want more. I wish they would implement a time to eat a snack like they had in elementary school. I sent her to school with a bag of cereal to eat from in between classes , however, it was confiscated because “food is not allowed in the locker bank area” and “if you’re hungry, you need to either bring more food or eat one of our new lunches!” She said she started laughing at the last one, for anyone could see her bag was stuffed with seaweed (yes, she eats this!!), a sandwich, an apple, and whole wheat pasta. The lunches are tiny- they’re giving middle school students 3 chicken nuggets, some nasty green beans, and strawberry applesauce with a 1/2 pt. of milk! I know she’s eating breakfast, she has a LARGE bowl of oatmeal in the morning. For a girl who is 5′ 5″ and 115 lbs. these lunches are not enough!!!

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