Please, lunch lady, I want some more

Many Indiana schools are struggling to meet federal guidelines for school lunches, reports the Journal and Courier. Schools must serve less meat and grains and more fruit and vegetables. Students complain the portions are too small, but they’re not hungry enough to eat the vegetables.

School districts are losing money because more students are passing up the school lunch and brown bagging.

“Kids eat with their eyes. When they saw that smaller portion, that freaked them out,” said Jennifer Rice, food service director of Lebanon Community School Corp., where the popular Salisbury steak shrunk. “I’ve been in the school district forever, and they all know me and they’ll go, ‘Mrs. Rice, we are hungry.’”

“They’re teaching our kids with this meal pattern that it’s OK to throw away,” said Lori Shofroth, Tippecanoe School Corp.’s food service director. “We did a waste study on three different schools, and there was a huge amount of waste.”

Amy Anderson, food service director for Carmel Clay Schools, said the rules have turned her into “a food cop.” Her district lost $300,000 on school lunches last year because of a drop in full-price students buying lunch. “Our kids can just wait and just hop in their BMWs and go to McDonald’s, which they’re rebuilding, making it bigger,” said Anderson.

In rural Elmwood, farm kids rejected the black bean salsa, says food service director Jay Turner. He offered to serve garbanzo beans instead. “And they gave me this look like, ‘No,’” Turner said.

Some districts are dropping out of the school lunch program or looking for ways to recoup losses as a result of the new regulations, reports the Washington Times.

My stepdaughter, who’s a nutritionist for a Boston nonprofit, has been designing school lunches. Meeting the guidelines is difficult, time-consuming and so costly her boss will not to renew the contract.

Update: Some British schools may require students to eat school meals instead of brown bagging or going out for lunch. Currently 57 percent bring their own lunch or buy something outside school. “The Government said these meals often contain too many sweets, fizzy drinks and fatty foods and the money would be better spent on healthy school lunches,” reports Sky News.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said, “More children eating school lunches and fewer having packed lunches” would result in “more children being healthier and more energetic throughout the day, and the nation, as a result, benefiting from improved brain power.”

Jon Stewart: Eat your *#!*#! lunch!

Jon Stewart on school lunch protests: “News flash! Extry extry! School lunches suck!” And students are still hungry after they eat it. “So you hate the food and you want more of it.” (That’s an old Borscht Belt joke.)

Under the new rules, designed to fight childhood obesity, students can get seconds of fruits and vegetables, but they won’t even eat the first (mandatory) helping. Cafeteria garbage cans are twice as full. “Hmm, now I am obviously not an nutritionist or an educator,” Stewart says, “but I think if these kids are hungry, I guess my solution would be…eat your motherf**kin lunch!”

What’s for lunch? Feeding needy students

Some community colleges now provide food pantries for needy students. One college offers free soup and tutoring two day a week, funded by the sale of college-branded coffee.

3 hots = well taught?

Some Memphis schools are serving an early dinner to students who attend the after-school program, reports the Commercial Appeal.  For now, dinner is a sandwich and salad, but soon schools will serve a hot meal in the afternoon.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, it’s been four hours since lunch, and Will Adams, 11, needs more than a snack to get through his day, which ends at 6 p.m. when after-care closes.

. . . “With a snack, I’d go home hungry,” said Will. “With supper, I go home full.

 The federal government now subsidizes breakfast, lunch (it’s over by 10:30?) and dinner (served at 2:30?).  Schools and community groups get$2.77 per dinner plus 22 cents in federal commodities to cover food costs and labor. If at least half the school’s students qualify for a subsidized lunch, everyone gets a free dinner, no questions asked.

For “a lot” of students , “there is this enormous gap between lunch and breakfast the next day,” said Tony Geraci, who runs the Memphis schools’ nutrition program. “Our goal is to fill the gap.”

Are there really “a lot” of parents who don’t feed their children a single meal at home? And why can’t Memphis serve lunch at lunch time?