I've been doing a lot of reading through forums, news articles, and other media outlets about reactions to the new school lunch requirements. What do you think about these changes? What are your children saying about them?
I'm going to recap what I've heard here, and I encourage you all to chime in with your own comments regarding what you think, what you've heard, etc.
There has been a lot of talk about kids coming home from school hungry, because the portion sizes have been reduced. This complaint seems especially common with the older age group, grades 9-12. The previous standards only had minimum calorie requirements. Now there are both minimums and maximums. They are as follows:
Grades K-5 (min-max): 550-650 calories
Grades 6-8 (min-max): 600-700 calories
Grades 9-12 (min-max): 750-850 calories
Because there never used to be maximum requirements, it is understandable how this could be a drastic change for some. Just how many calories were the meals in previous years one might wonder?
Another concern that has surfaced is plate waste. The new guidelines require students to take a fruit or vegetable in order to qualify for reimbursement. This has caused some rebellion with students, and regardless of their reason for not eating the food, it ultimately ends up in the trash. There are numerous articles out there about whole fruits and unopened containers of fruits or vegetables being tossed.
Not all the feedback has been negative however. I have found a pattern of articles stating younger students are reacting quite well to the changes. Many have expressed that younger students are enthusiastic about the new offerings and more accepting of the new guidelines.
It is also very inspiring to read about all of the creative approaches foodservice professionals across the nation are taking to resolve these concerns. From revamping menus to implementing farm to school programs and snack initiatives, it’s clear that schools are doing everything they can and then some to ensure our children are healthy and hunger-free.
What is the reaction in your school or community? Change of any kind is likely to produce some uproar. Do you think it’s temporary? We’d love to get your feedback. Feel free to comment in the space below or on the Learning ZoneXpress Facebook page.