Students say healthy lunches are ‘tolerable’

Sixty-three percent of high school students and 70 percent of middle schoolers say the new, healthier school lunches are tolerable, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
Complaints about the food are down, students said. But food waste is up.

Some school districts are dropping out of the federal lunch program because they’re losing money, reports Education News. More full-pay students are brown-bagging or going off campus to buy lunch.

In Fort Thomas, Kentucky, students are rejecting the cafeteria food, says Superintendent Gene Kirchner.

“We watch children every day walk past the cash register and then throw away things that we are forced, have forced them to take essentially, as a result of the federal requirements for lunches … There’s no guarantee that the things they bring from home are healthier, or that if they stop by the minute market on the way to school and what they grabbed at that point is a healthier option,” Kirchner said.

My nutritionist stepdaughter will not be designing school lunches this year. The “ridiculous” federal rules have made it so time-consuming that the nonprofit where she works was losing money on the contract.

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  1. Well, high schoolers in my day, late 70s, and even middle schoolers today can get a coke and candy bar on the way to school. Perhaps a spare for lunch, then hit McDs on the way home. And they didn’t have this foolishness when I was in school, just plain old bad institutional food, although the pizza and hamburgers were tolerable although usually cold from being trucked over from the middle school.

    Yeah, the poor kids are out of luck but they need to learn that being poor means being abused by the uncaring system. A very good incentive to study hard and find a decent job, at least it was for me.

  2. JKB,

    We had our own food prep done at the high school by staff and student workers. The end result was that we had stuff like sloppy joes, fish and chips, chef salads, fries, chicken, burgers, etc (this was in the late 1970’s), and we could walk across the football field to go to Jack In the Box, etc.

    What is different is the amount of physical exercise and activity students actually get these days. When I attended high school, we had phys ed. which was mandatory in 9th and 10th grades, only waivers if you participated in a school sanctioned sport, marching band or music didn’t cut it.

    We also rode our bikes after school, swam, played basketball or touch football, and as a rule, our parents used to gripe about how much food we would consume just from all this physical activity (As a teen I could consume 3 big macs, 2 large fries, and a large coke), but burned it all off with physical activity.

    I drive by my old high school, and it’s amazing how out of shape many 9th and 10th grade students actually are (we’re not talking a few pounds, but overweight or obese here).

    You can eat anything, if you get hungry enough, though I prefer adding stuff like tabasco, or Frank’s Hot Sauce to foods which are bland, that makes ’em tasty in most cases 🙂

  3. School lunches seemed to be designed around inactivity. My sons cant make it thru varsity sports practice fueled by a school lunch at 1030 a.m., so they brown bag good food. Some of their nonsports playing friends brown bag breakfast, then eat lunch at home since school is over so early in the afternoon.

    In my new gen, school lunches were good. The cooks actually cooked and the food was the correct temp, unlike today where everything is heated up from frozen, then is served lukewarm.

  4. Typical high school lunches here:
    1. Patty on bun, fries, veg
    2. French toast sticks, sausage link, fruit
    3. Pizza, salad
    4. Grilled cheese, salad

    Add fruit and milk